Adelaide United coach Josep Gombau said he was pleased with his players’ effort despite a shock 2-1 loss to Newcastle Jets on Friday night – the Reds’ second consecutive A-League defeat.
United had made history earlier in the week by knocking off current league leader Perth Glory 1-0 in the inaugural FFA Cup Final at Coopers Stadium on Tuesday night, but dealing with two competitions may have finally caught up with the Reds, according to Gombau.
Gombau said he wasn’t prepared to offer Tuesday night’s game as an excuse for the shock loss but said balancing the Cup competition’s midweek games was now a reality for A-League teams.
“We did well – I am not unsatisfied with the players,” Gombau said.
“The attitude is good, what they tried to do, everything.
“Just, Australian teams (are) not used to playing in two competitions.
“This is the schedule; (there is) nothing to say. We don’t use this as an excuse but it’s real.”
The Friday night fixture was the Reds’ third in seven days and Gombau said some of United’s trademark tactics and game plan was off the mark against the previously winless Jets.
The Spaniard said his side was slower than usual, particularly when trying to recover possession and when going forward.
“I think for us this week, Friday to Friday we play three games and we pay for this,” Gombau said.
“Normally we are a team that when we lose the ball we press hard to recover the ball as soon as possible.
“This pressing was there but not fast enough to get the ball and we arrive one second late in every single action.
“With the ball we play we but we don’t have the speed that normally we play. Maybe this is because mentally and physically we are a little bit tired.”
Craig Goodwin scored against his old side in the 70th minute cancelling out Scott Neville’s opener five minutes after the break.
But, it was former Adelaide United striker Jeronimo who gave the Jets their first win of the season, slotting home an 81st minute winner.
Gombau said he was genuinely happy for the ex-Red get on the score sheet and be the one to break United hearts.
The Spaniard said he was also pleased for his counterpart, former Reds assistant coach Phil Stubbins.
“No, no – I’m so happy for him (Jeronimo),” Gombau said. “In the end it’s better that score him than another player.
“We have a nice relationship. He’s a player that we have contact and I’m happy for him.
“The first thing I do is say congratulations to the coach and the second thing is to say congratulations to him.”
United takes on Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on Friday night with just three points separating the two sides.
The Reds remain in third while Sydney dropped to fifth and were leapfrogged by Wellington after a 2-0 loss to the Phoenix on Sunday.
The defeat was the Sky Blues’ second in a row at home and gives Friday night’s clash extra significance with both Sydney and Adelaide looking to arrest irregular form.
Friday 19 December
Newcastle Jets 2 (Neville 49’, Jeronimo 81’)
Adelaide United 1 (Goodwin 70’)
10,407 @ Hunter Stadium
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