Melbourne Victory head coach Jeff Hopkins was proud of his team despite its Westfield W-League Derby loss to City on Friday.
Victory had its chances and defended well at AAMI Park until an 82nd-minute header from Rebekah Stott saw City claim a 1-0 win.
Despite his side's first loss of the season, Hopkins took pride from the way Victory performed.
"We obviously had a game plan. We know they're a good side and we decided just to sit off them a little bit and give them a little bit of space at the back and it seemed to be, for most of the game, working well," he said.
"I'm very proud of the way the girls took the game plan on and executed it, it was very, very close to coming good for us.
"It's disappointing to lose the game, for sure, but I'm also pretty proud of the girls and also I can see there's massive improvements from last year.
"I'm disappointed with the result but happy with the performance."
South Korea international Jeon Ga-eul made her debut for Victory and produced some nice touches in midfield.
Hopkins said he saw good signs from the 29-year-old, who got through 90 minutes.
"I was happy. The good thing was, again, she jumped in, took the game plan on board and there was a lot of understanding there," he said.
"She's not 100 per cent match fit. We just found out she was cramping after about 60 minutes but she kept it to herself so she'll have to maybe communicate a little bit better about that.
"I was quite happy. I can see in the training this week and also out there in small moments of the game that she's got some real quality and qualities that will really help us as the season goes on."