Marco Kurz has praised his Adelaide United players for their plucky 0-0 draw against league leaders Sydney FC at Coopers Stadium on Sunday night.
The Reds were severely depleted with Kurz fielding a youthful, inexperienced line-up with three teenagers receiving their Hyundai A-League debuts.
Lachlan Brook, 16, impressed from the start of proceedings, while Kristin Konstandopoulos, 19, and 17-year-old Pacifique Niyongabire came off the bench for their maiden appearances.
But despite the injury list, United showed immense resilience, determination and organisation to contain the Sky Blues.
Kurz was thrilled with how his undermanned Adelaide outfit competed with the defending champions.
“I’m very happy because until the end of the second-half maybe the last twenty or thirty minutes it was a big fight,” he said in the post-match press conference.
“But we stayed very compact, very disciplined against the ball and I think we also had two big counter-attacks to score a goal.
“If you saw the line-up then you must be proud about the whole squad and the young boys and congratulations to the whole team.
“It’s not every day that you get a draw against Sydney FC.”
Kurz admitted he told his players prior to the game that they should feel no pressure given the circumstances. He added that as the match wore on he could see his team grow in confidence.
“I said to the players before (the game) we have nothing to lose,” he said.
“I think we can only win today, it can go two ways the first one is that if we are scared then we have no chance.
“But if we believe in our quality then we have a chance in one game against Sydney FC and I think the longer the game went on the more confident and belief the younger players felt.
“… It was a very high intensive game from both sides.”
Kurz provided an update on a few of his players absent, and was optimistic a couple of them would be vying for selection very soon.
“There’s a lot of different things,” he explained.
“Nikola (Mileusnic) had a problem in the stomach and stopped the warm-up and we must change.
“Johan (Absalonsen) has a knock before the third goal in Perth, (Ryan) Kitto woke up in the morning after the game (against Western Sydney Wanderers) with knee pain – but it looks good now.
“We missed a lot of players and also two players they could’ve played but for me it’s too risky.”
The German tactician also praised Reds fans for their vociferous support in urging the team on and creating a loud atmosphere.
“I think a big congratulations to the crowd,” he stated.
“They pushed us and after the last five minutes they clapped their hands and pushed us forward and they saw what the boys did and they fought for the draw.
“And I thank the crowd for their support of the team and I’m very happy.
“I like Hindmarsh and I like the supporters we are very happy here.”
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.