Marco Kurz says Adelaide United failed to follow his instructions in the second half when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Melbourne City.
The Reds coach was happy with what he saw from his team in the first half-hour at AAMI Park, and they took the lead through Craig Goodwin's header.
Had they heeded the coach's half-time advice, they may well have held on to earn a win that would moved them to within three points of third-placed Sydney FC.
But Adelaide conceded a goal to new City signing Jamie Maclaren, being punished for their inability to play out from the back.
Kurz said he felt the draw was a fair result, but added: "I think in the second-half we played not so well and not good enough for the victory. I think we started well and played well for first 30 minutes and then we lost a little bit of the control of the game but we scored a goal.
"At half-time we said we must look forward and play the ball to our offensive players, but it was completely different, we played more back."
The draw kept United inside the top four with nine games left in the regular season, and if they can remain there they will have a home game in the Finals Series.
Kurz gave Dutch recruit Jordy Thomassen his debut and saw him play the full 90 minutes.
"At this point the performance was okay, I think he has enough space to improve again and to adapt but he's a good person," said the coach. "And I hope he can give us a lot of quality in the future."
United have now suffered just one defeat in 10 matches, and the draw extended their unbeaten run to five games.
Adelaide are 12/1 to win the Grand Final.
The Reds are 8/13 to win their next game against Western Sydney, who are 4/1 with the draw 3/1.
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