After travelling to Japan just hours after their shattering A-League Grand Final loss to Sydney FC on Saturday night, the Victory produced a sluggish performance to go down 4-0 to the Japanese club in the Asian Champions League after conceding three goals in the first 22 minutes.
Merrick admitted his side were beaten in most areas of the pitch and said they now faced an uphill battle to progress to the next phase of the competition.
“The game was over really after the first 20 minutes,” he said.
“Kawasaki Frontale played very good football. They were further best team on the night and we were very disorganised in defence.
“We were beaten on the both flanks. When we were trying to cover the flanks, they came through the middle. We changed our formation but still we couldn’t stop their attacks.
“I think we really struggle to qualify for the next stage now.”