Adelaide United coach Josep Gombau denied his players were distracted and had one eye on Tuesday’s Westfield FFA Cup final after suffering a surprise 1-0 loss to Brisbane Roar at Coopers Stadium on Friday night.
The Reds looked hesitant and messy in attack and squandered several opportunities to steal a point, instead succumbing to their first home defeat in 371 days – ironically also against the Roar.
United sprang a double surprise by leaving out in-form pair, playmaker Marcelo Carrusca (calf) and defender Nigel Boogaard (calf), but Gombau insisted Brisbane was still very much at the forefront of everyone’s thinking.
“No. I honestly think no,” Gombau replied when asked if his players were already thinking ahead to the FFA Cup decider against Perth Glory.
“The players took this game very seriously.
“We prepared like every single game. We worked hard and tried to win.
“We didn’t have in our mind thinking about the Cup game.
“They (Carrusca and Boogaard) are injured. If they’re okay they play today (against Brisbane), for sure.
“I hope and wish that they can play on Tuesday.”
After Henrique’s stunning 18th-minute goal boosted the visitors early, Adelaide had a red-hot crack at drawing level in the second half but were let down by some poor finishing.
Last week Gombau was noticeably frustrated with his side’s lack of poise and cleanness on the last touch in a 2-0 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers which should have been a blowout.
On Friday the same problem surfaced, only this time it really cost United, particularly when Sergio Cirio fluffed a sitter in the 58th minute.
“It’s something we need to improve if we want to be top or win something,” Gombau said.
“We created chances but we don’t score enough goals.
“We deserved, at least in the second half, a goal and to draw this game.”
Gombau has no doubt his charges, after a three-day break, have the capacity to bounce straight back in Tuesday’s big one against Perth.
“If you are a professional football player, it’s part of your job.
“It’s not like we lost and the world will finish.
“When you play, you can win or lose – they are professionals.
“It (loss) is better to happen today than on Tuesday because that is a Cup final and it’s win or lose.
“In this league, we have another game next week.”