Melbourne City coach John van ‘t Schip praised the fighting spirit shown by his side after suffering a heart-breaking defeat in Saturday night’s Melbourne derby.
City produced a stirring second-half display, coming from two goals down to square the match, but ultimately left Etihad Stadium empty handed after a late Besart Berisha goal.
While van ’t Schip was proud of the response from his side he said City were guilty of giving the reigning league champions too much respect in the first-half.
“You want to take a point at least; we looked like maybe even getting more. Coming back from 2-0 then of course a point would be great but it wasn’t,” van ‘t Schip told reporters after the match.
“The first half we were not playing at our level, we had too much respect. Second half we started immediately better, they scored the second goal against the run of play.
“We were already at that moment I think more aggressive, playing better football but they scored the second goal, after that we came back into the game.
“Second half I think we were clearly the better team but in the end it cost us a lot of energy and we just didn’t do enough in the first half which was the biggest disappointment.”
The coach couldn’t pinpoint what was behind City’s lackluster start but revealed some of his half-time address to the players which saw them get a foothold on the game after the interval.
“What I said was ‘losing a game is not nice but losing a game without really going for it, fighting for it, that’s double disappointment.’”
“If this is the way we’re going to give this game away then I don’t think after this game you can look each other in the eye.”
To compound the disappointment of Berisha’s 90th minute winner van ‘t Schip believed the final result could have easily gone the other way.
City had a late penalty appeal for hand ball in the box waved away when the scores were locked at 2-2, with the coach convinced they should’ve had a spot-kick.
“We from the bench saw it immediately and it was clearly a handball in an open chance. Kuzmanovski with the set up with Bruno right in front of goal.
“But they didn’t see it, or they did see it and they didn’t give it so you can’t do anything about it.”