Western Sydney coach Markus Babbel praised towering Abe Majok despite the 20-year-old missing several sitters in Friday’s loss to Newcastle Jets.
The attack-depleted Wanderers were without the still injured Mark Bridge and Roly Bonevacia, who picked up a hamstring problem on Wednesday.
Majok was given a start and from the outset looked like the most promising route to goal, with his pace and exciting raids on the Jets defence.
But at the end of the 90-plus minutes Babbel's men had nothing to show for their domination.
The 2-0 result at Spotless Stadium, thanks to goals by Jason Hoffman and Ronny Vargas, gave the Jets their first win of the season and put them equal with Wanderers on five points.
“He was dangerous – exactly what I was expecting for him,” Babbel said of Majok post-match.
“Also he was working hard defensively-wise, this was one of the keys against Newcastle. If the wingers are not working defensively-wise then you get a massive problem. Both Bruce (Kamau) and Abe did well.”
Kenyan-born, to South Sudanese parents, Majok moved to Australia at the age of 7. The former Wanderers youth player clinched a two-year senior contract with the club in May last year and put in a oneto-watch performance last night.
Babbel added: “He had the chances he was in the right position, he did everything right, the only problem was he couldn’t score.
“But he is a young lad, he will improve, and I hope next time he can score. He’s normally a player who can score goals – so (we) keep going.
“This is a young guy, of course there always will be mistakes, it is what we have to expect.
“You have to know we have 12 players over 22 and 11 players under 22 and if you see how many players today were on the pitch – especially with the two sixes 20, 21 years old – they did fantastic.
“And Abe and Bruce – I think he’s 24, 23 – also young guy you know, this is my team. This is my squad and I believe this is the team that can beat Newcastle and to be fair we were not far away.”
A frustrated Babbel said Bridge was back training with the squad, albeit minus the contact, while Bonevacia could be out for three to four weeks.
"The boys definitely deserve more than defeat and it was over 50-60 minutes of really good style of football on the pitch," the German said.
"We did many things right. We created chances but we couldn’t score.
"It’s been a bit of a problem with us – not many players can score a goal. So we have to work on this again, all of this is a process."