Stellenbosch FC coach Steve Barker was proud of his players despite suffering a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Mamelodi Sundowns on Wednesday.
The Cape Winelands outfit hosted the Absa Premiership title challengers at Athlone Stadium where a ninth-minute goal from Themba Zwane was enough to hand Stellies a defeat.
The result aside, Barker was pleased by what he saw from his charges and wants them to keep working hard to stave off the threat of relegation.
"We played with three at the back, we just wanted to push our wing-backs higher and prevent them from playing. We know that they are good centrally, with combination play. So, having the three, plus two central midfielders, I do feel that they found it difficult to break us down," Barker told SuperSport TV.
"They weren't sure what to do, we nullified them on those areas and yes we wanted to play on transitions, we also wanted to play the ball in behind their defenders, with the pace that we have, to turn them, which we did.
"We made them defend tonight, we got a lot of joy in behind, a lot of corners out of it. We maybe just lacked the final pass or the final decision, in the final third to get the goal I think we deserved but again very proud of the effort of the players.
"We had some big players not available, Robyn Johannes, Nathan Sankala, Mpho Matsi, so I'm very proud of the effort.
"We still got work to do, it's tight at the bottom of the log, we're only four points clear of the play-off position, so, there are some big games coming up for us. Fortunately, we do have four of the games of teams around us all in Cape Town, starting with (Golden) Arrows, tough team to play against, followed by AmaZulu, Cape Town City and Chippa (United) must also come here
"So, today it would have been a bonus to get a point or three, it wasn't to be. But we understand, we know where we are as a club and we do know that there are some big fixtures coming for us to make sure we get over the line."