Adelaide United must be more consistent than they were against Sydney FC to compete with the A-League's best, coach Marco Kurz says.
The Reds couldn't make the most of their early opportunities in the 2-1 loss at Sydney's Jubilee Oval on Sunday night, as they finished with 60 per cent of the ball but could only score once from the penalty spot through Craig Goodwin.
Notably they forced just one save from Sky Blues keeper Andrew Redmayne in open play - and even that came in stoppage time as Ryan Kitto looked to level the scores.
"The performance in the first half way not good enough to get three points," Kurz said.
"Sydney FC waited for our mistakes, they did well, it was very hard to find the passing lines in the first 20 minutes.
"However long the game went the better we played, but we must perform 90 minutes and not 45."
The defeat was Adelaide's first in five matches, after they beat the second-placed Melbourne Victory and drew with the higher-ranked Wellington in their last two home fixtures.
The Reds are sixth at the halfway mark of the competition, comfortably seven points clear of the chasing Newcastle but still three below the fifth-placed Phoenix.
"On 19 points we are on a good track," their coach said.
"Also don't forget we won the (FFA Cup) final, that means we have a couple more strong games in the legs.
"At the end we are Adelaide United, we are not Sydney, Victory or City. We have a different budget and I think we are in a good way.
"But we have to perform every week and again next Friday against Western Sydney is a really important thing for us."