Gertjan Verbeek played down the impact on Adelaide United's 2-1 defeat to Melbourne Victory, but he was more willing to wade into other major issues in Australian football.
The Reds’ gaffer watched Kristian Opseth’s seventh minute opener cancelled out by a 57th minute equaliser from Marco Rojas before a dramatic 91st minute winner from Andrew Nabbout on Saturday night.
The defeat was the second in succession for the Reds, arriving a week on from their surprise 5-2 defeat away against Western Sydney Wanderers, and leaves them just three points clear of the chasing Red and Black – who also have a game in hand over their South Australian rivals.
But speaking after the game, Verbeek dodged any blame game; emphasising that his side was in the contest – played in front of 14,424 fans – right to the end.
"We had in the first half some defensive problems,” he said. “We gave too many chances away [but] still we were leading, we also had our chances.
"Second half, the defence was better and still we got quite good chances - two times [we hit] the bar.
"And in both moments that we had a big chance - also in the last minute with [Mohamed] Toure - we can decide the game in a positive way but then, in the counterattack, they scored for 2-1.”
But perhaps deliberately, the ever-forthright Dutchman – who had a dig at the atmosphere at Marvel Stadium in a pre-match Fox Sports interview – was happy to share his thoughts on several topics beyond his side's loss on Saturday night.
The stream of consciousness began when, after Verbeek expressed satisfaction with the performances of his young players against Victory and emphasised their importance to the future of the Reds, he was asked about the quality of Australian youth in general.
“The U20s have played a tournament or some games in Holland and they were beaten by Ajax 4-0 I believe,” Verbeek said.
“They won against Twente [the Young Socceroos defeated FC Twente’s youth 4-3 but also lost 1-0 to FC Utrecht’s youth as well as the Ajax loss] but there’s a big difference between Twente U19 and Ajax youth.
“When I compare Louis D’Arrigo with players from Ajax that are 17 or 18, some [Ajax] players have already played Champions League at that age.
“They play Champions League [UEFA Youth League] with the U19s, and the competition in Holland is good in the U19s. They play 60-70 games at that age on a very good and high level. [Last season] Louis D’Arrigo played 10 games.
“So tactically and also technically in a little space, [Dutch] players are much better. Much further [along] than players here at 17, 18, 19 years old.
“Young players, they’re sometimes a little bit naive. The way [D’Arrigo] gave the ball away [in the lead into Nabbout’s goal], it’s a youth player. Now he’s made that one mistake, and then he’ll think the next time.
“That’s things you have to learn, and you can only learn by doing it. That’s the experience they miss and if they never play, they never [become] experienced players."
Verbeek was then asked if quotas for young players – such as a mandatory three U23 players in starting line-ups – was a solution.