A blunt John van 't Schip says his Melbourne City players weren't 'strong enough or professional enough' to beat Adelaide United on Friday, as they waved goodbye to David Villa following a winless stay at the club.
City led through Patrick Kisnorbo's early header but conceded to Bruce Djite to go in level at the break, with Marcelo Carrusca's late penalty sealing all three points for the visitors to AAMI Park.
Van 't Schip claimed his side showed more of the mental strength he had called for going into the game, but were still some way below the level required to start making an impact on the 2014-15 A-League.
"We work hard, we play a certain way. Today Adelaide were having some problems with us but in the end, we're not strong enough or professional enough to get a win," he said.
That missing strength and professionalism must now be uncovered without a World Cup and Champions League winner in attack, as Villa leaves for New York.
Van 't Schip and the club still do not know if the Spaniard will return later this year, but the coach is confident his team can deal with the uncertainty.
"If it (Villa's return) will happen, of course, we'll make space again. On the other hand we have to continue and work without David. If he's not coming back we'll start tomorrow looking at what we have to do against Brisbane."
Utility player Jonatan Germano's return from injury lasted just 27 minutes before a hamstring problem forced him off, with Van 't Schip forecasting another spell on the sidelines but strongly denying suggestions he took a gamble with the Argentine's fitness.
"Germano's probably going to be out again and that's a big disappointment for him," he said.
"He's suffering too many of those injuries. He's been training for almost a month and we actually took that time because we know he needs that time to build up.
"He played last week, 45 minutes without a problem. He was scheduled for 60 minutes this week. We hoped to get him out without a problem. Unfortunately it didn't work like that."