Melbourne City coach Warren Joyce insists his side didn't fall victim to complacency in their shock 2-1 loss to the Central Coast on Wednesday night.
Fourth-placed City struggled to make the most of their opportunities against the Mariners, who claimed their first win in 327 days with the victory and ended a 10-game losing streak.
But Joyce maintained his men hadn't arrived on the Central Coast believing anything short of a strong performance would get them the points.
"I think if you look at the games objectively they've played well the last two games barring the sending offs," Joyce said.
"They've played 10 men for a long period. They've played some good football. So we weren't coming here thinking it was going to be easier than any of the other games we've had.
"They've been impressive, they've been one of the better teams the last few weeks.
"So we wanted to be bang at it. It was an important three points for us to keep us in the fight higher up the league."
City will fly back to Melbourne on Thursday and return to training on Friday before Saturday night's home game against top-of-the-table Perth.
It's there they'll know they have to be much better.
The visitors dominated possession but were unable to turn that superiority into goals and Joyce said he could see the team were off from the start.
"I thought we came out slow. Even the first couple of minutes Matty Simon could have scored in the back post with an easy ball in," he said.
"And then there was a ball played into the box that they should have done better with as well, inside our left back. Two good opportunities in a short period.
"I thought we weathered it a little bit after that and got into good positions but gave the ball away too easily."
Australian Associated Press