Brisbane Roar may have kicked off the new A-League season with a 2-1 win, but skipper Matt Smith says there is still plenty of work to be done ahead of their clash against Sydney on Saturday.
A last-gasp goal from Ivan Franjic saw the Roar claim all three points from their trip to Wellington Phoenix, who were without key players Andrew Durante, Leo Bertos, Glen Moss, Jeremy Brockie and Louis Fenton for the season opener.
Smith, returning to the side after hip surgery, praised his side's resilience for coming back from a goal down against the Phoenix but warned his side would need to improve against the Sky Blues at Suncorp Stadium.
"There were probably times last season where we would have gone a goal down and dropped our heads," said the defender.
"This season it's great to see already that the boys will keep pushing and pushing. We can take an awful lot from (the match) despite probably not the best performance.
"Our ball speed at times was particularly slow. It gave Wellington the opportunity to cut out an awful lot of passes.
"We'll have learned a lot from that and credit goes to Wellington because they made it very, very difficult for us.
"That's going to be our task this week to correct the things we did wrong (against Wellington) and to put in a better performance next week in our first home game.
"We aim to create a fortress at home this year."
Roar coach Mike Mulvey was adamant the result at Westpac Stadium should not be underestimated.
Brisbane were outplayed in the first half and a Stein Huysegems goal gave the Phoenix a 1-0 lead at the break.
That was quickly cancelled out by Besart Berisha's equaliser just 52 seconds into second half before they gradually began to wear down the inexperienced and tiring Phoenix youngsters and Franjic wrapped up the three points in stoppage time when he fired home after Thomas Broich's shot came back off the post.
"It's a very good win - away from home, first game of the season, in Wellington," declared Mulvey.
"I'm not buying any of this stuff about players being out, they had a good team out there. I expect Wellington to do well this season."
Meanwhile, new Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick was proud of his players' efforts but disappointed not to get a point from the game.
Franjic’s late strike was a cruel blow for Merrick and his team, who had battled hard at Westpac Stadium without key players Andrew Durante, Jeremy Brockie, Leo Bertos, Glen Moss (all on All Whites duty) and Louis Fenton (dislocated shoulder).
"They (Brisbane) couldn't get out their half in the first 10-20 minutes and we should have taken more of an advantage on the score sheet," admitted Merrick.
"In the second half they scored early and they scored in the last minute. But in between we gave as much as we took but we were running out of legs, the youngsters in particular.
"The boys are still learning what it takes to grind out a result because we should have ground out a point today."