Far from gloating over Friday’s 3-2 win over City, the enigmatic Sage expressed concern over his side’s defensive fragility and bemoaned the accumulation of seven points instead of the nine after three rounds.
While the rest of the competition took note as Glory headed west victorious on the back of Andy Keogh’s hat-trick, a phlegmatic Sage, who flew in from business in London just in time to attend the game, declared: “We have given away five goals in two games that we shouldn’t have.
“Three against the Mariners and two against City … they weren’t well created goals, they were mistakes by us.
"You can’t win titles like that. We have to get those mistakes out of our game. Seven points is not as good as nine, and I am not too happy about that and nor is (coach) Kenny Lowe.
“If you look at City’s goals … one was a brain snap from Brandon Wilson and overall our keeper didn’t have much to do.”
The tycoon did, though, pay tribute to the “passion and gutsiness” of Lowe’s men and said further improvement would come when defender Lowry (hip) and new signings Rhys Williams and Adam Taggart (calf), were fit again.
It’s likely that Taggart and Williams will be cleared for Sunday’s visit to Brisbane Roar.
“The benchmark is still Sydney FC, they have a hugely strong squad,” said Sage. “We have a long way to go. City is a fantastic side … the bookies have it right with them and Sydney FC as title favourites.
“Nobody is looking at us and we will just go about our business and get as many points as we can until we have a fully fit, full strength first team on the pitch.”
Sage declined to buy into the debate over the conduct of Lowe who was sent to the stands after 45 minutes at AAMI Park following an altercation with referee Alan Milliner, other than to cast him in the role of peacemaker.
Lowe, who could face a one-game touchline ban should the match review panel decide to act, was banished in the aftermath of a penalty awarded to Bruno Fornaroli for a supposed Dino Djulbic foul.
The stopper received a yellow card with Perth skipper Rostyn Griffiths booked for protesting the decision.
Emotions ran hot at half-time with Lowe intervening when Griffiths and Nebojsa Marinkovic approached the referee, pushing the pair away to make his own protest to Milliner.
“I am not going to comment on the referee, others can do that,” he said. “I don’t want to get embroiled in all that as I am the owner.
“The important thing was that we won the game. Kenny went in there to stop an alteration. There’s no audio of the incident and I don’t see a sanction being placed but you never know.
“He wanted to get his players away, he saw things were getting over-heated and was acting as peace-maker.”