Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou saw plenty of positives from his team in their narrow friendly defeat to Perth Glory on Wednesday.
Visitors Perth ran out 2-1 winners behind closed doors at AAMI Park, thanks to Nick Ward's goal and a Billy Mehmet penalty.
But Victory were arguably the better side as the first half wore on, and some enterprising play from Archie Thompson and Marco Rojas earned the hosts a penalty, which Marcos Flores duly converted.
Despite suffering their first defeat to Hyundai A-League opposition in pre-season, Postecoglou is confident his players will be ready to perform when the 2012/13 campaign begins against Melbourne Heart on October 5.
"I was quite happy, especially first half I thought we played some really good stuff," he said.
"There was plenty to be encouraged about, we've still got a lot of work to do obviously. At this point in time I'm pretty comfortable with where we're at.
"The players have started to get an understanding of what we want them to do. And I think with some fine tuning over the next couple of weeks we'll be ready."
Victory's intention to pass the ball was obvious from kick-off at AAMI Park, but with a major rugby league clash coming up at the venue on Friday, Postecoglou said conditions were not ideal for his team's approach.
"It's not an excuse but they left the grass very long for the NRL on Friday which is understandable," he said.
"I can see the players getting frustrated when you're trying to move the ball very quickly and you can't, we struggled with our rhythm because of that.
"My frustration throughout this pre-season was the surfaces were very ordinary. When you try to play football like us it isn't really conducive towards it. That tends to frustrate the players more than anything else.
"You work really hard in training and you want to get some reward when you play the games.
"Having said that, the intent was there, I was very pleased with that and I'm sure we'll progress from there."
Victory will host an intra-club friendly on Sunday, before setting their sights on cross-city rivals Heart in the season opener at Etihad Stadium next month.