Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone singled out Melbourne Victory striker Besart Berisha, and versatile midfielder Leigh Broxham, for special praise after the A-League club's 1-0 win over the UEFA Champions League runner-up in a pre-season friendly in Geelong.
Simeone, who fielded a largely experimental line-up was impressed by the organisation of the A-League club, which used the match as preparation for its round of 32 FFA Cup clash against Newcastle Jets on Wednesday.
"The youngsters are beginning to take shape and the best way to learn is against a team that showed a lot of fight and was very competitive," he said. "I really liked number eight [striker Besart Berisha] and number six [midfielder Leigh Broxham]. They are a strong team that is very compact."
The likes of Fernando Torres, Diego Godin, Filipe Luis and Gabi were kept on the bench, while Saul Niguez, Jan Oblak and Tiago were given short spells during the match.
However, despite failing to find the net, Simeone was left impressed by his youngsters, praising promising talents such as Theo Hernandez, Caio Henrique, Amath Diedhiou, Rafael Borre and Juan Moreno.
"I am very happy [with the performance]. These games mean a lot for the youngsters," the Argentine said post-game at Simonds Stadium, as Nick Ansell's first-half header sealed the win for Victory. "I liked Theo, I liked Caio, I liked Juan, Amath played well, Borre as well in the first half.
"If I have something to take from this game it's that they showed that they're playing well together and there is an alternative for the future."
Atletico created the better of the chances in the opening period, with Tiago controlling the tempo before being replaced by Thomas Partey in the 35th minute.
"The first half was good, with Tiago in the team it was a lot better, and I was left with a lot of positives to take from it," Simeone said. "The debut of [Diego] Jota, who came in with a knock also went well."