Popovic takes aim at uninspired Wanderers
So bad was the Wanderers' performance in going down 2-0 to the Jets, coach Tony Popovic can't remember a worse display than what his side dished up at Pirtek Stadium.
Popovic was unsure whether the fact his troops may have been tired from their third game in eight days due to a midweek Asian Champions League's clash, or if the eerily quiet atmosphere in the stands played a part in the defeat.
The usually vocal Red and Black Bloc staged a silent game-long protest after club officials imposed sanctions in response to flares being lit during Wednesday's ACL match.
"I didn't notice that (RBB protest), you concentrate just on the game," Popovic said.
"From start to finish we were very flat. It's uncharacteristic from us, but overall it was just a real flat performance.
"It was just one of those days and we want to make sure it's just that.
"Since we've been together as a club, I'm not sure we've had such a flat 90 minutes. You always have periods in games we're your flat and teams can have a good spell but i just felt throughout the whole game we were flat."
Asked if the ACL loss to Ulsan Hyundai during the week was a factor, Popovic stuck with a similar theme.
"We never saw anything in the last couple of days at training ... maybe it's something we have to have a look at," the Wanderers boss said.
"That's a new experience for us and we can have a little look at that but even the players that didn't play ACL were flat.
"All around the whole team was flat. You hope they pick it up as the game goes on but it didn't happen today.
"The little things we do well, winning the first ball, winning the second ball, we struggled without throughout the whole game and we lacked a little spark in possession."
In the end it was goals from Kew Jaliens and Adam Taggart which inflicted just the Wanderers' fifth defeat of the campaign, meaning they missed the chance to close the gap on league leaders Brisbane Roar.
But despite sitting seven points behind the Roar with just six games left, Popovic hasn't given up hope of retaining the Premiers' Plate.
"It's still do-able that's for sure .... it's not out of the question," Popovic said of chasing down Brisbane.
"We've been on a good run, four games we were undefeated (before Newcastle) and we won out last game in Perth which was very good.
"Performances have been pleasing but today overall there's nothing positive at all."
If there's one positive for Popovic it's the fact he won't need to work hard to get his players up for their next match, the Sydney Derby at Allianz Stadium next Saturday night.