Adelaide United Captain, Isaías, says he was proud with how the younger players in the squad acquitted themselves in their 0-0 draw against ladder leaders Sydney FC.
The Reds were missing a host of first-team regulars either injured or away on international duty for the Round 16 clash at Coopers Stadium on Sunday.
Isaías admitted he was delighted with the determination shown by the new-look line-up, with three youngsters receiving their Hyundai A-League debuts.
Having now played three closely fought matches against the Sky Blues – two in the league and one in the Westfield FFA Cup Final – the Spaniard said it is proof his side are on the right track.
“We know that Sydney FC is one of the strongest teams in the league and we have a lot of players that are injured,” he said.
“But you can see last night the young players come in and step up and play a fantastic game and we are so proud.
“… It does show we are a competitive team and we can beat anyone in this league.
“So that means we are doing a really good job.”
The Spaniard said the aim against the defending champions was to remain defensively tight and look to exploit them on the counter-attack.
“I think we tried to defend compact in our pitch and don’t give them too much space,” he said.
“Because we know they’ve very skilful players and very good players up front, and they’re quality.
“And also when we recovered the ball to have a quick transition to see if we can get any chances.”
Isaías also revealed he has enjoyed working with Head Coach, Marco Kurz, and his demonstrative passion on the sidelines is infectious.
“I think he’s a very clever coach, I think he’s very intense and I like this sort of coach,” he said.
“He passes this passion on to the players and I think we play with this passion also like he does.”
The skipper said he feels his game has gone to another level since being given the armband.
“Every year I’m improving because I’m getting older, maybe I’m getting more experience,” he said.
“But I try to improve in every training, every session, every game because I like to give my best every day so this is important.”
The Reds face Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Sunday and the 30-year-old expects another tough test.
“It will be a difficult game, we play away again and we know that they have a very good team,” he said.
“But we’ll go there to fight for the three points like every game and hopefully we can get something from there.”
Adelaide United will face Melbourne City in Round 17 of the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 season on Sunday, 21 January at AAMI Park. Kick-off is at 6.30pm ACDT.