Western United were brought crashing back to earth with an upset loss to Newcastle but coach Mark Rudan says the defeat can be used as an opportunity.
Western United coach Mark Rudan says Saturday's shock loss to Newcastle can be a wake-up call for the A-League newcomers.
United were favourites against the Jets but were stunned by a first-half goal and were unable to claw back the deficit, losing 1-0 and spurning the chance to put pressure on table-toppers Melbourne City.
"Everybody thought that we were just going to walk over this team and that certainly wasn't the case," Rudan said.
"And we made mention of that throughout the week, it was a good challenge for them to see - probably the first time this year we were expected to win quite easily, according to everybody, and we weren't there.
"So it's a good lesson learned not to listen to the noise outside - we certainly don't listen to it - we understand who we are and where we're at and we've got a long way to go for us to be that team we want to be."
Rudan again lamented his team's slow starts, with Newcastle dominating the opening half.
"The biggest learning curve for us is that we seem to get into gear once we concede a goal and that's disappointing," he said.
"So this time I didn't mention anything during the week about the slow starts but we certainly need to start like we're down 1-0 by the sounds of things.
"How we recreate that I'm not too sure but the mentality has to be better."
Rudan said the poor starts were "just not good enough" and flagged the potential for changes - with Panagiotis Kone (hamstring) poised to return.
"You've got enough experienced heads in that team to understand what it means and normally with the experienced players and the good players you only have to say things once," he said.
"But clearly over the past few weeks it's not happening so we'll see what the answer might be throughout the week but ... every player needs to be on their toes and if we make changes we make changes."
Rudan praised the character and "mental fortitude" of full-back Josh Risdon who returned from Socceroos duty in Jordan on Saturday morning but started and played the full game.
United will back up the loss against the Mariners in Gosford next Sunday and Rudan said his side could benefit their first trip out of Victoria since round one.
"It could actually work in our favour as well," Rudan said.
"It allows us to get out of Melbourne, we've been here a long time and sometimes that change of scenery can do the world of good for them too."