Coolen: Reds to emulate Glory

Adelaide United coach Rini Coolen has asked his players to emulate Perth Glory after a loss to the struggling Western Australians saw the Reds' grip on second position get ever weaker.

Adelaide United coach Rini Coolen has asked his players to emulate Perth Glory after a loss to the struggling Western Australians saw the Reds' grip on second position get ever weaker.

Just a week ago, Adelaide were talking of challenging Brisbane at the top of the table but any hopes of doing this were pretty much blown away on Wednesday night as Robbie Fowler's brace gave Perth a thrilling 4-2 Christmas victory.

Compounded with their heartbreaking 2-1 defeat to Melbourne Heart last Friday, the Reds have now lost consecutive matches to all-but give up their chance of overtaking the Roar, who are 10 points ahead, having played one more game.

Instead, Coolen says he's feeling the heat from below as third-placed Central Coast, who enjoyed a 1-0 win over North Queensland on Wednesday, and fourth-placed Gold Coast are just four points behind Adelaide having played two fewer games.

And, it's no wonder Coolen's asking his players for their biggest effort of the season as they head to Gosford for their own Boxing Day Test against the Mariners ahead of home games against Sydney FC (December 29) and Brisbane (January 2).

"Our focus is to find out if we can stay in position No.2," said Coolen.

"It will be a hard job. A lot of teams are coming closer and closer to us so we have to fight back."

Ahead of playing Adelaide, Glory interim coach Ian Ferguson had called on his side to treat this game as a 'Cup final' as they looked to lift themselves off the bottom of the table, an attitude Coolen said his own side now must emulate.

"The opponent played like a 'Cup final'," Coolen said.

"It was a cup final for them. We told our boys that's a cup final for us as well."

"But not only one game, we have to play a couple of cup finals to stay in the position where we are, keep away from the teams who are trying to take our second position, so there will be tough weeks for us."

Coolen said he was disappointed with the defensive lapses that allowed Perth to score but said he was more concerned his side couldn't take advantage of a system that saw them play with one more midfielder than the Glory.

Coolen said his team only controlled the game for brief periods, mainly after twice going behind as goals from Perth's Jamie Coyne and Mile Sterjovski were cancelled out by strikes from Joe Keenan and Sergio van Dijk.

Fowler had once again given Perth the lead in the 67th minute but this time Adelaide couldn't level as Iain Ramsay blasted a shot over an empty net after being released by a sizzling pass from Marcos Flores.

And, the Glory made them pay as Mile Sterjovski won a penalty down the other end - one that saw Robbie Cornthwaite dismissed - which Fowler converted.

Coolen said his first impression of the penalty was it was a fair one and he also refused to criticise referee Chris Beath's decision to just caution Sterjovski in the 55th minute, despite the former Qantas Socceroo appearing to lash out at Iain Fyfe.

Cornthwaite's dismissal along with Daniel Mullen's season-ending knee injury leaves Adelaide short on central defenders for the Mariners' game, although Coolen expects key midfielder Paul Reid to be all right, despite having to come off in the 10th minute with blurred vision after appearing to clash heads with a team-mate.