Adelaide United coach Marco Kurz admits some of his players were "scared" in their 3-0 defeat to Melbourne Victory.
The Reds couldn't match the physicality of Kevin Muscat's side at AAMI Park, conceding two goals in a seven-minute spell in the first half and failing to recover.
It was a disappointing performance from United, with Taylor Regan scoring an own goal to put them behind on 22 minutes and Leroy George quickly adding a second from a stunning free-kick.
Kurz said there had been a number of issues that displeased him, including that they'd started off poorly.
"I think today you saw the difference between a very experienced team and a young team," added the coach.
"Victory played very strong in the duels and very clever and my boys in a lot of situations were too scared.
"I think we also made a lot of mistakes in our passing and in our ball control and I think that was one of the reasons in the first-half."
United's chances of recovering from their deficit were effectively over nine minutes after the interval, when substitute Dzengis Cavusevic was sent off for shoving Rhys Williams.
Five minutes later, Besart Berisha compounded their woes when he scored a third goal for Victory.
Kurz conceded the dismissal of Cavusevic, who had only come on at half-time, killed off his side's chances.
The Slovenian was unhappy at having let his teammates down, the coach said, but will learn from the mistake.
"In this situation he made a mistake by pushing him (Williams) back and that's the reason for the (red) card."
Adelaide dropped back into fifth spot with the defeat, behind the Victory.
United are 33/1 to win the Grand Final.
Adelaide are 31/20 to win their next game against Brisbane Roar, who are 17/10 with the draw 5/2.
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