Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold has lamented his side’s missed opportunities following their 2-1 defeat at home to Perth Glory.
The hosts struck first after Shane Smeltz chipped a spot-kick past a helpless Daniel Vukovic to give the Sky Blues the lead.
However, Arnold’s side were pegged back by two goals in the final 10 minutes by Rostyn Griffiths and Andy Keogh as the Glory claimed all three points.
The Sky Blues’ mentor cited a lack of ruthlessness as the reason for Perth Glory’s late resurgence and believes his side’s luck has finally run out.
“I think that’s the best we’ve played over the last month,” Arnold said post-match. “We controlled big periods of the game.”
He said the team suffered disruptions during the week and the late pull-out of marquee Marc Janko.
Having said, Arnold added: “There were a lot of positives to come out of it, and it was disappointing to lose in the last five minutes.
“We need to be ruthless and punish teams. We had them by the throat at 1-0 and probably could’ve strangled them. We didn’t and let them off.
“We gave them a cheap goal and a free-kick. We warned the boys how strong Perth are with set pieces because of their height and it was disappointing to concede from there and obviously a turnover of possession led to a penalty.
“We’ve probably ridden our luck over the past few weeks, gotten away with some results.”
Sydney FC notoriously slow starts to matches have been juxtaposed by dominant second half performances.
The same proved to be true against the A-League leaders where they found themselves under the pump for much of the first half before a resurgent performance in the second – a half that could’ve sealed the win for the Sky Blues.
Arnold credited a change in the system, which allowed Sydney to control the last 45.
“I told the guys to move the ball quicker and move into space instead of standing in space as we were predictable in the first half,” he said.
“There was a lot of space either side of Rostyn Griffiths and we tried, with Janko out, to play with an extra midfielder, with Antonis, and bring Griffiths towards our backline to open up space for Brosque and Bernie.
“It worked well at times. But they were the better side in the first half and we were the better side in the second half.
“We needed the second goal when we got the first. We had two really good chances and if we got that, we could’ve gone on to win the game.
With Corey Gameiro, and more recently, Ali Abbas, sidelined with season-ending injuries, Arnold believes the side is missing “balance” and confirmed he will be looking to bring in injury replacements in January.
“We’re done on numbers, it’s a big job and I’ve inherited players that have been at the club for the last few years and working with them every day,” he added.
“The squad could be better balanced, it’s not at the moment. We just need to move forward this month and in January we can get two injury replacement players. We’ll keep battling away.
“With Corey and Ali Abbas gone we’re a bit light on the left hand side. Young (Alex) Gersbach is doing great for a 17-year-old and we could do with more pace in the team.
“We’ll contact our network of overseas agents and see what’s available. We only have three foreigners and have positions to use another two foreigners. We’re getting emails every day and diligently looking to see if they’re the right players.”
When asked on the situation of Janko, who was a late withdrawal from the match, and Sasa Ognenovski, Arnold said: “Janko, I think, will be back next week. Sasa is still a question mark with a muscle problem around the hip and he’s having trouble striding out.”comments