Tarek Elrich says it was good to receive his first start in just over a year and praised Sydney FC for their strong display.
Adelaide United suffered a 3-0 loss to the Sky Blues at Allianz Stadium on Sunday night, quashing their hopes of a top four finish.
However, despite the result the Reds are almost certain to end the season in fifth place – barring a heavy defeat to the sixth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 27.
Elrich, who started his first game since sustaining a serious knee injury a year and a day ago, said Head Coach, Marco Kurz, wanted to get minutes into his legs.
“It’s never fun being out for so long,” he told Fox Sports after the game.
“I think I just ticked over the year mark yesterday but to get some minutes before finals is what the coach wanted the most.
“It wasn’t anything against Mickey Marrone out of form or anything like that, it was more just in case I’m needed in finals that I’ve got some minutes under my belt.”
The 31-year-old also congratulated Sydney for their dominant victory, in particular their clinical display in the attacking third.
“Credit to Sydney they’ve been quality now for a number of seasons and it showed tonight,” he said.
“They were the best team tonight and thoroughly deserved that win and it just shows the difference.
“They were clinical in the front three and took their chances and it was an uphill battle conceding just before half-time is never easy.”
Regardless of the setback, Elrich was adamant the team was capable of making a run in the impending finals series and would learn from their mistakes.
“We know we’re good enough and fit enough,” he said.
“It was one of those games where Sydney played well and kept the ball and made us work hard.
“For us when we got into that final third we were giving it away too cheaply and they were coming back at us.
“So we’ll go home, assess that, and make sure we’re ready come finals.”
Adelaide United face Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 27 of the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 season on Sunday, 15 April at ANZ Stadium. Kick-off is at 4.30pm ACST.