The Jets were hung, drawn and quartered by a merciless Melbourne City at Hunter Stadium on Sunday, in their first loss by more than one goal this A-League season.
City were unstoppable, netting three times within six second-half minutes as Aaron Mooy and Bruno Fornaroli each bagged a brace as the visitors ripped apart the Jets’ normally well-drilled defence.
The hosts’ misfortunes were compounded by a lack of cutting edge in attack – not helped by being caught offside 13 times – often in key moments – with Milos Trifunovic the worst offender.
After six winless matches and languishing in seventh place Miller’s side are approaching crisis point, not helped by speculation that key winger David Carney is considering a move to Qatar.
The coach admitted the result was bitterly disappointing, and tried to put the rout down to a learning experience.
“You can’t take a positive from everything, but when I look at the offside ruling it’s all about timing and key passes in the moments,” he said.
“We had a problem earlier in the season where we weren’t making forward runs at all and everyone was coming forward towards the ball.
“We’ve changed our tune a little bit in training, that forces forward runs in behind their back four.
“So now we’re doing it, but it’s the execution of the timing of the pass, and that comes through rhythm.”
Miller will have to pick his squad up off the floor and inject some confidence before they host Adelaide on Friday night.
However, he was philosophical about the team’s drop off in form since their giant-killing start to the season that included a stunning 3-2 comeback win against City – their last triumph six games ago.
“A team will have troughs throughout the season, we’re aware of that,” Miller said.
“Melbourne City had one three weeks ago and look at them now.
“And now you look at Adelaide who have won the last two … so if we draw it back to next Friday’s game it shows two teams on a different start to the season.
“Next week’s a different kettle of fish altogether.”
Miller is hopeful captain Nigel Boogaard will finally return for the United clash, after the reliable defender was a late withdrawal against City to miss his third successive match with an ankle injury.
Local News Matters
Media diversity is under threat in Australia – nowhere more so than in South Australia. The state needs more than one voice to guide it forward and you can help with a donation of any size to InDaily. Your contribution goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. Please click below to donate to InDaily.