Valkanis left frustrated by loss
Adelaide United coach Michael Valkanis believes the 2-0 scoreline in Sunday's loss to Central Coast was not a true reflection of the match.
Aside from a gift of a goal to Mariners striker Daniel McBreen on three minutes and another one some 90 minutes later to veteran substitute Mile Sterjovski with the Reds pressing forward, the two sides fought an even, tough battle, with the visitors having the better of the first half and United bossing much of the second.
Valkanis even went as far as to suggest his side dominated proceedings, taking away the two goals.
"The second half was good," he said. "We huffed and puffed but didn't blow Central Coast down.
"If you take away the two goals conceded, the sloppy goal in the first few minutes and the one at the end, that's probably the (first time) in a long time that we've outplayed the Mariners.
"We had more possession and we dominated the game, especially the second half.
"It's been a long time since we've done that against the Mariners.
"That's what's so disappointing and frustrating - that we didn't get anything for it.
"The end result doesn't describe how the day went. Yes, we lost and we're disappointed but we probably didn't deserve to lose 2-0.
"If we take away the goal we conceded in the first three minutes, what else did the Mariners do?"
The fact Central Coast withstood everything United could throw at them while making the most of their own chances showed why they are still in the hunt for the Premiers' Plate and the Reds' finals campaign will begin from the elimination final stage.
Valkanis did pay tribute to the Mariners, who he considers the benchmark when it comes to fitness and physicality, along with the rampaging Western Sydney Wanderers.
"It was very hard to break down Central Coast, who are very well organised," Valkanis said.
"They play very long and direct, get 10 men behind the ball and they play for the second ball.
"The Mariners and Western Sydney are probably the fittest teams in the A-League, they are the strongest and the most physical.
"They play very similar in regards to the way they organise themselves and get numbers behind the ball.
"They make it very hard for teams to break them down."