Ferguson pleased with Glory effort
Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson was hard pressed to find fault with his team after their 1-0 loss to Melbourne Victory on Friday.
A gem of a goal just before the hour mark from Victory winger Marco Rojas was the difference between the two sides in humid conditions at AAMI Park.
After a solid start to the A-League season that saw them win three of their first five games, Ferguson's side have hit the skids in recent weeks with the Victory defeat meaning they have picked up just two points from their past four matches.
But Ferguson said he could not question the effort of his side, who were without suspended skipper Jacob Burns, internationals Scott Jamieson and Michael Thwaite, while they lost midfielder Liam Miller five minutes before kick-off with back tightness.
"I thought the first half was pretty even, there wasn't too much in the game," Ferguson said.
"The second half started, they've come out the blocks and we didn't weather the storm and they put us under a lot of pressure.
"I just spoke to the boys there and I told them I can't fault their effort and their commitment and what they gave us tonight. If we keep playing a little bit more consistently and (stay) in games, we'll do OK.
"They didn't put their heads down, they kept trying. We did create some chances and the 'keeper's (Nathan Coe) made some great saves."
The Scot lamented a lack of depth in his squad, and said he would likely hand 20-year-old attacker Chris Harold – who caused plenty of problems when he came on as a second-half substitute – his first senior start in their crunch clash with Melbourne Heart next weekend.
"The squad is not as strong as what it was last year in depth. But what I feel as though we have done is strengthen the 11, and I'm missing four of them today," Ferguson said.
"We'll have Jacob Burns back in the squad, but we're down to bare essentials at the moment.
"We're bringing a lot of young kids in. Chris Harold – he's exciting – he created a couple of opportunities for himself. I'm more or less looking at giving young Chris an opportunity next week."
Ferguson paid tribute to the Victory, and said he was a fan of their expansive style of play.
"They play very attractive football," he said. "They try and use the whole park.
"They're a very difficult team to play against. The talent they have got, I'm a wee bit jealous to be honest."
The Glory boss said he had not seen an incident just before half-time involving his star striker Shane Smeltz and Victory midfielder Billy Celeski, where the New Zealand international appeared to raise an elbow to Celeski's face, drawing blood.