Brisbane Roar coach Ange Postecoglou has accused his side of playing like cowards, labelling their lucky 3-3 draw with Perth Glory on Wednesday night as their worst A-League performance of the past 18 months.
In a refreshingly honest and brutal assessment rarely seen nowadays in professional sport, Postecoglou said his team didn't deserve to sit in second spot on the table following their selfish and lacklustre display against the Glory.
An out-of-sorts Roar were 2-0 down after just 26 minutes, but shot out to a 3-2 lead by the 69th minute courtesy of a brace from Mitch Nichols and Erik Paartalu's bouncing header.
Glory, who were the dominant team throughout the match, rescued a share of the spoils through Mile Sterjovski's 80th-minute penalty, and almost won it at the death through Travis Dodd's header.
Postecoglou was left fuming both during and after the match, declaring the Roar lacked the courage and intent needed to back up on their championship success of last season.
"It's unacceptable," a downcast Postecoglou said.
"I didn't see it coming and I didn't think we had it in us to be honest.
"Sure we can lose a game of football, but lose it our way. Play it on our terms.
"The human qualities of competitive sport were missing - the desperation, the desire to win, a bit of bravery, a bit of courage.
"Courage comes in many forms. In our game, in the way we play, courage means wanting the ball in tricky situations and we were extremely cowardly today in the way we approached the game.
"It's the most disappointing (performance) I think for 18 months to be honest. We haven't played that way for a very long time.
"We failed on every sort of measure we have as a football club."
Postecoglou, who just six weeks ago experienced the high of guiding his team to a record-breaking 36th unbeaten game on the trot, was at a loss to explain the dramatic loss of form since then.
The Roar suffered defeats in their next five games, with last week's 3-1 triumph over Melbourne Victory proving to be a false dawn.
"It's a funny league the A-league. We're sitting in second spot but it just doesn't feel right to me playing like that," said Postecoglou, who is still missing the likes of star playmaker Thomas Broich and Henrique.
"I'd rather finish seventh and understand we're developing a certain style of game than sit where we are.
"I wasn't happy, because I don't want the players to get away with that. I don't want myself to get away with it.
"I don't want to say 'oh yeah we got a point away from home, we're sitting in second spot, things are travelling well' when I know deep inside I can't live with that sort of performance from our football club."
The Roar take on a rejuvenated Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Saturday, before returning home for a clash with Sydney FC next week.