Central Coast Mariners coach Phil Moss was full of praise for his side's fighting qualities despite the fact they ended up going down to the Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium thanks to a late Besart Berisha strike.
Central Coast's week was disrupted by the departure of key players Trent Sainsbury and Daniel McBreen, and Moss was pleased with the way his chargers pushed Brisbane to the limit in the 2-1 loss.
Mile Sterjovski won and converted a penalty against the run of play in the first term, but the Mariners were unable to hold off a rampant Roar in the second half, with Henrique equalising before Berisha's 90th minute winner.
Moss spoke of his team's disappointment after the game, but was able to find some positives from the performance.
"I'm so disappointed for my players," he said.
"They dug deep.
"We've played a lot better, obviously, it's not one of our prettiest performances with the ball, but gee the attitude and the effort and the mental character, the toughness that we showed, and I'm not just talking about today.
"To come out of a week like we've just had, losing players of the calibre of McBreen and Sainsbury, and having to dig in the way we did against a top-shelf Brisbane Roar team on their home patch, I'm so proud of my boys."
The Central Coast manager said the afternoon kick-off may have affected the quality of the contest.
"I really must ask the question why we have to play at four o'clock when it's the only game of the round (on Sunday)?" Moss said.
"I just don't get it at this time of year with the heat and the humidity.
"I feel for the players, but I feel for the fans as well because I think the quality of the game would have been lifted a good few notches if it was played a bit later when it was cooler.
"It's something that has to be rectified in this A-League, playing at this time of year."
Moss also spoke of the reinforcements on their way to the club in the wake of the recent departures.
South Korean midfielder Kim Seung-yong was signed from Ulsan Hyundai, while Eddy Bosnar will return to Australia after a 13-year stint in Europe and Asia.
The coach also revealed he is looking at two more players to bolster his squad.
Both Kim and Bosnar will be available for Central Coast's next match against Melbourne Victory as long as all bureaucratic procedures are completed, according to Moss.
"Provided the paperwork goes through, Kim arrives on Tuesday morning, Eddy's started training with us; he trained yesterday and he looked very fit, very strong.
"There's another two that I'm looking at to add some depth to the squad."