ABU DHABI // For Josef Hickersberger's team, it was a learning experience, as so many unpleasant episodes in life are.
Asked if he could take any positives out of a 4-1 loss to Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma of South Korea in their Club World Cup quarter-final match last night, the Austrian coach of Abu Dhabi's Al Wahda team applied in the affirmative.
"Yes, there is a positive in that we now know we must work harder," he said.
"Only a few of our players could challenge the Seongman players and could play at the same pace and win the one-on-one situations and defend on the attack.
"Maybe our players couldn't cope with the pace. This is very sad because we hoped and expected much more."
He was surprised that the Wahda defence leaked four goals, especially after the club have been so good in keeping opponents from scoring.
Wahda shut out Hekari United 3-0 on Wednesday, and in eight Pro League matches this season have conceded only five goals.
"We did not change anything in our defence," he said. "They played together last season and have been the best defence in the whole league.
"But today has been a bad day. The defenders did not communicate and we're not as good as I remembered them being last season. They are definitely better than they looked."
Wahda are not out of the tournament. They meet Pachuca of Mexico, the North American champions, in the fifth-place play-off at 6pm on Wednesday. "For sure, we will go all out to win," Hickersberger said. "It must be our goal to get fifth place against Pachuca.
"First of all the team have to recover, because there are only a few days between now and the next match. We will have one or two training sessions, and I hope we put in a better performance."