Alessandro Del Piero says it will take a few games before he and his Sydney FC teammates are on the same page after the Sky Blues fell 2-0 to Wellington Phoenix in New Zealand on Saturday.
The Italian, who is on a two-year deal worth $4 million, admitted his A-League debut was frustrating but he's confident the Ian Crook coached side will click soon after a disjointed opening to its campaign.
A first-half goal to former Belgian international Stein Huysegems and a second-half strike by 19-year-old Louis Fenton left Sydney reeling as it struggled to find cohesion against a typically committed Wellington outfit.
The result consigned Sydney to its sixth loss in eight matches against Phoenix in New Zealand.
"I am not satisfied - we lost," said the former Juventus star and Italian World Cup winner.
"But it was the first match ... We need to do hard training, day by day, and think of the next game. After 10 matches, we can talk in general, but not now."
Despite his lack of recent match time, the former Italian international played the full 90 minutes. He was happy with his effort, but only just.
"I'm OK, I played 90 minutes. But I need to do better, I need to improve," he said. "I'm enjoying it, but not for the result."
Sydney's lack of pre-season match play was apparent: it never really established any control or field position, and Wellington was able dominate for long stretches.
"We need to play together a few times," Del Piero said. "A player like me, who came just three weeks ago... we've played just one game together."
He paid tribute to Phoenix, which featured the customary solid defensive effort but showed a new-found confidence and pace in attack.
Where once striker Paul Ifill was the sole threat up front, Phoenix now boasts a range of exciting options in Huysegems, Fenton, Solomon Islands international Benjamin Totori and New Zealand striker Jeremy Brockie.
"All the Wellington players played a very good match," Del Piero said.
"They are strong, and they have ideas."
Time supposedly heals all wounds, but one month on from the A-League grand final and Western Sydney captain Michael Beauchamp is still hurting.