BRISBANE Roar coach Mike Mulvey believes the club are on the right track to get back to the top of the A-League despite seeing their title defence end at the hands of Western Sydney on Friday night.
Roar toiled hard and created some nervy moments for the home side but just weren't clinical enough as the Wanderers moved into next weekend's grand final with a 2-0 win.
A 16th minute goal from Dino Kresinger and a second-half Shinji Ono stunner sealed the result for the Wanderers and ensured there would be no hat-trick of titles for Brisbane.
Mulvey, who helped guide the club up the table after taking the reins mid-season, conceded his side were simply beating by a better team on the night.
But after Roar endured a period of "upheaval" during the campaign, Mulvey praised his squad's attitude and believes it augurs well for the future.
"We made some positive changes the players responded great and they deserve an enormous amount of credit for the way they have turned things round," Mulvey said.
"One thing I've said all along is we've got one eye on next season but we wanted to salvage what we could out of this season.
"We gave it a red-hot go over the last seven or eight weeks, we had a lot of challenges and it's very hard to come from fifth to win the title.
"I'm immensely proud of the effort the players have put in, the application has been second to none.
"But I want them to feel the hurt from this because it will drive us to be improved next season."
So inconsistent for most of the season, Roar seemed to find their way over the last two months of the season to eventually amass enough wins to sneak into the finals.
Asked how proud he was to get the side into the finals after the club's such poor start, Mulvey said: "I'm proud more for the club.
"They got a lot of stick and there was a feeling of entitlement if you like. But the one thing we've done is steadied the ship and started punching in the right direction.
"The players deserve all the credit because they're the ones that have recognised the situation, looked in the mirror, accepted responsibility and they worked damn hard.
"Unfortunately tonight we were just a bit short."
Stand-in Roar skipper Thomas Broich, who had battled a heel injury in the lead-up to the match, did play but he failed to have an impact on proceedings.
He hobbled off midway through the second half but Mulvey denied he had taking too big of a risk playing his star midfielder under an injury cloud.