Melbourne Victory head coach Jeff Hopkins rued his side's start in a 3-0 loss to Sydney FC in the Westfield W-League on Sunday.
Victory fell 2-0 behind inside 22 minutes at Jubilee Stadium after a Remy Siemsen brace.
While the reigning premier had its chances, Sydney sealed its win late on through Shadeene Evans.
Hopkins was disappointed by the way Victory started away from home, with Siemsen giving the host the lead after just four minutes.
"I think we were off the pace the first half, we gave Sydney FC too much time and space to play," he said.
"Interestingly, we kind of recognised that before the game, saying it was really important that we started with a real intensity and got close to the opposition and put them under pressure, but it never really happened.
"We gave a good side too much time and space to play, we conceded a couple of first-half goals. That was without the ball.
"With the ball, we didn't really play with any real intent, but I think the thing that gave us a bit of confidence at half-time is that we might have even created more chances than them in the first half without really looking threatening so the girls still had a bit of belief at half-time.
"We were much better in the second half in terms of intensity, in terms of closing down and getting closer to the opponent, putting them under pressure, but we didn't really do enough to get ourselves back in the game."
Hopkins also felt Victory's pre-season impacted its performance in Sydney, but he hopes to see his side bounce back against Brisbane Roar on Thursday.
"It's a good lesson for us, probably for me as well we needed better preparations in terms of games this pre-season," he said.
"We didn't really have a game that really pushed us hard, that's probably unfortunate.
"We had two games against City arranged, but in terms of (Westfield) Matildas camps, they lost half of their squad and it was a game against a group of young girls, triallists.
"Most probably for us it's not the worst thing in the world, it's kind of woken us up to say, 'Right, the standard we played at in terms of intensity, in terms of drive and enthusiasm, intent, wasn't good enough', but it's early days and we've got an opportunity with a quick turnaround to hopefully put things right and get the type of performance we want against Brisbane on Thursday."