Adelaide United coach John Kosmina is not giving up on a Hyundai A-League finals berth despite his team needing a near miracle after losing to the Jets in Newcastle on Friday night.
Adelaide United coach John Kosmina is not giving up on a Hyundai A-League finals berth despite his team needing a near miracle after losing 1-0 to the Jets in Newcastle on Friday night.
The Jets sealed the Round 21 win with a 39th minute goal to Tarek Elrich to move into fifth spot on 31 points while the Reds remaining seven points out of the top six on 23 points with just four games left to play.
And while it is mathematically still possible for the Reds to qualify for the finals they face a monumental task given they also have to fly to Uzbekistan next Friday for their Asian Champions League match.
However in typically never-say-die Kosmina style, the Reds coach is refusing to give up hope.
"We can win four games in a row and finish on 35 points and according to Simon Hill that would be enough to get us in," Kosmina said after Friday night's loss.
"You've got to be optimistic, but it is going to be tough. We have got Perth on Thursday, who I think are beatable - we should have beaten at home a month ago, we have got to go to Uzbekistan which will be tough and we have to come back and play Brisbane which will be even tougher away from home. But stranger things have happened."
Kosmina praised the effort of his side who was playing its fourth game in 12 days but said one mistake from his defence which allowed Newcastle's Francis Jeffers to find an unmarked Elrich on the box for a turn and shoot goal was the difference between the sides.
"The guys have put in the effort it is not like we are playing badly at all, we are playing good football, we played good football tonight, we played enough good football to deserve a result or at least some sort of an outcome," he said.
"I have had a look at the stats, they (the Jets) had a bit more possession but they played a lot of it in their half of the field, and we made them turn the ball over a lot, but we made one silly mistake and it cost us.
"Every single week we are making one silly mistake, but apart from that Eugene didn't need to make a save. Ben (Kennedy) had a great save at the end there.
"Football is a game of mistakes and it is who makes the least amount of mistakes who wins."
Kosmina also pointed to the loss of key midfielder Francisco Usucar, who limped off in the 19th minute with a hamstring injury, as a turning point in the game.
The Reds coach was forced into an early substitution bringing on teenager Jacob Melling to fill the tough role of marking playmaker Jeffers.
"When Poncho (Usucar) came off as early as he did it hurt us," Kosmina said.
"Jacob is not ready for a start yet. It was a toss-up whether I put him on or Zenon (Caravella). Jake has played that role before and it is not really Zenon's natural game to play as a holding midfielder he is more a get forward type of guy."
"I opted to go with the young fella and he found the pace a bit tough. I wanted to keep him on as long as I could and his effort was not questioned at all but he couldn't find his range and it got a bit much for him and Jeffers is a smart player.
"But Poncho's loss really hurt us and upset our rhythm because he had an absolutely outstanding game last week against Sydney, but for some reason his hammy(hamstring) tightened up on him.
"We will assess him tomorrow. But at this stage He won't be playing against Perth and I doubt whether he will be getting on a plane next Friday to Uzbekistan."