|By JOHN GRECO
Adelaide coach John Kosmina says his side need to learn how to get down and dirty after the Reds were on the end of a 6-1 thrashing against the Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday.
The high-flying Reds came crashing down to earth with a huge thud as the A-League's newest club made an emphatic statement at Parramatta Stadium.
It was Adelaide's third-heaviest defeat in their history, just short of the 6-0 grand final loss to Melbourne Victory in season two of the A-league and last year's 7-1 capitulation to Brisbane.
Kosmina conceded his side were totally outfought by the physical Wanderers and is hopeful the result will be the wake-up call they need to ensure they do not undo all their good early-season work.
"To sum it up, they bashed us up," Kosmina said.
"We're not a team of fighters. It's not to say we can't when we need to but you actually have to be in a few fights before you know how to stand up for yourself.
"It will wake a few people up and make them realise that success doesn't come so easy.
"You need to roll your sleeves up a bit and get your hands dirty."
It is something the Reds haven't had to do too often over the first 11 weeks of the season.
They went into Friday's match on the back of two big wins over the Victory and Phoenix, and Kosmina believes that type of soft preparation may have resulted in his side's flat performance.
"Last week against Wellington we played in second gear... it almost happened too easily," the Reds boss said.
"It's not complacency but it's very hard when things are flowing that well to be prepared for the alternative.
"That's what we got tonight. We weren't mentally prepared for a game like that because of the way things have gone the last few weeks.
"They won most of the one-on-one battles, the physical battle. It's a part of the game we haven't had to deal with yet."
Due to their involvement in the AFC Champions League before their A-League campaign began, Adelaide have endured a much longer season so far than the rest of the competition.
Asked if his side were starting to struggle with fatigue heading into the gruelling festive period, Kosmina said: "We've got enough blokes coming back from injury now to maybe freshen things up anyway.
"That's not to say we're going to make changes for the sake of it. Everyone deserves a second chance.
"There was enough good out of tonight, even in that second half.
"Nothing needs to be said at the moment because they'll be smarting. This is where it's time for a bit of introspection.
"They don't need to have their heads filled with any philosophy at the moment. They need to soak it up themselves."But the Reds do not have much time to soak up this result, with a clash against out-of-sorts champions the Brisbane Roar at Hindmarsh Stadium on Boxing Day.