League frontrunners Brisbane Roar may have been on the back foot for lengthy periods in the top-of-the-table clash with Western Sydney Wanderers, but coach Mike Mulvey says his side will continue to further improve for the rest of the season.
The Roar were just five minutes away from inflicting a rare home defeat on the Wanderers – they have lost only one of their past 14 games at home – and establishing a massive 10-point gap over their second-placed opponents.
But Labinot Haliti’s late goal for the Wanderers cancelled out Besart Berisha’s early strike as the contest finished all-square.
In truth, the Wanderers deserved at least a share of the spoils with the Roar, unusually, dominated in the possession stakes, while goalkeeper Ante Covic was rarely called into action.
With just one loss in their past six outings, and with the majority of matches at home during their run-in to the finals, the Roar remain well placed to claim the Premiers Plate and go one better than last year’s Preliminary final elimination.
Mulvey said we are "so strong right now"comparing his side’s condition to late last season when their campaign ended with defeat at the Wanderers.
"There are 11 games (including finals) in which we are going get better,"Mulvey said. "We have Matty McKay to come back. We have competition for places. We are going to get bigger and stronger and I’m really looking forward to the coming months.”
Mulvey paid credit to the opponents saying the Wanderers make life hugely challenging for visiting teams.
"It was a serious examination tonight,"he said. "They gave us a really good test but we expected it.
"I wouldn’t say we cracked, but they found a way to open the door. To walk away with one point I would be quite happy with to tell the truth. We had chances to get a second, but at the end of the day I think it was a fair result.
Brisbane normally receive plaudits for their silk touch, but Mulvey was at pains to point out his side’s impressive work ethic which, he says, is an aspect of their game that is sometimes overlooked.
"They all work hard for each other and that is the ethos we have,"Mulvey said. "We have a great work ethic which stands us in good stead and anyone that wants to come into the team needs to have that.
"We didn’t see the best from us in terms of flair, but we rolled the sleeves up, worked hard and earned the point.
"We never go into a game looking for just a point, because that is the start of your troubles if try and do that. Attack is the best form of defence."