Mariners draw Kossie praise

Adelaide United coach John Kosmina credited his opposition after tasting defeat for the first time in his second stint at the club in Saturday's 3-2 loss to Central Coast.

Adelaide United coach John Kosmina credited his opposition after tasting defeat for the first time in his second stint at the club in Saturday's 3-2 loss to Central Coast.

Kosmina's Reds pushed the league leaders harder than most in their now 15-game unbeaten streak but despite Adelaide leading 2-1 for most of the match, the Mariners were able to snatch all three points with late goals from Adam Kwasnik and Josh Rose.

The coach's decision to push high and pressure the hosts' passing game on their own patch worked a treat in the first half but Kosmina admitted his side paid for starting to drop back after the break.

"That's what happens in football," he said.

"You've got to play for 90 minutes. We switched off a little bit in the second half. We conceded too much ground."

"I asked them to press and press high. When I (took the job) five weeks ago I thought their condition was a bit underdone. Maybe fatigue got the better of us in the second half."

"From a football perspective how can you complain. You're always going to get peaks and troughs where the other team gets on top. We dominated most of the first half and could have gone in 3- or 4-1 up. The football was fantastic. That's what you build on."

"But credit to the Mariners. They're battle-hardened, you can see that. That's probably what we lack a little bit, some older heads who have been in some tough games. But that's how you learn."

Reds midfielder Fabian Barbiero laid his side's first goal for Sergio van Dijk with a clever reverse chip before Bruce Djite struck to complete a frantic five minutes that started with Daniel McBreen's opener for the Mariners.

Barbiero agreed with his boss that the home side punished his team's failure to maintain their early pressure.

"It was difficult. We wanted to start off again as we did in the first half but the Mariners got on the ball," he said.

"We were sitting quite deep and we allowed them to play and get in behind us and it snowballed from there. The goal was coming."

"We've just got to tighten up and work on a few little things. We've got a game on Wednesday (against Newcastle in Bathurst) and I think we can turn it around."

Mariners coach Graham Arnold felt his change to a 3-4-3 had helped turn the momentum as the league leaders chased goals in the second half and Kosmina, who is working with a squad compiled by former coach Rini Coolen, bemoaned the lack of options at his disposal.

"We don't have a lot of options to change shape besides Iain Ramsay on the left, but we lack natural width and pace on the right," he said.

"I thought (Graham Arnold might change formation) but we can still deal with it. I don't think shape was the problem, it was a lack of concentration and a lack of experience when it counted the most."

Kosmina has little sympathy for his players despite the heavy workload in the coming days, suggesting the extra match in midweek will help them get to a level they will need before their Asian Champions League campaign begins in March.

"We probably could be a little bit fitter but you don't gain fitness by not working hard," he said.

"We've got three games in a week but these guys are footballers, they get paid to play football. It wouldn't be any different on a building site. It's no big deal."