Perth Glory coach Richard Garcia said his players need to become more street smart to deal with the roughhouse tactics of their Asian Champions League opponents.
A Glory outfit littered with youngsters suffered a 2-1 loss to Chinese powerhouse Shanghai Shenhua in Qatar on Wednesday.
Spanish star Diego Castro, Uruguayan Bruno Fornaroli and rising star Nicholas D'Agostino were particularly targeted throughout the match.
D'Agostino copped a boot to the head and a knee to the backside in separate incidents, while Fornaroli was cut down from behind on numerous occasions.
Castro had to deal with a tight tag and cut a frustrated figure at times.
Glory's youngsters were also targeted.
Shanghai ended the match with four yellow cards and numerous other warnings from the referee.
Garcia said his side learned a valuable lesson about what tactics they can expect to deal with for the remainder of the competition.
"It now becomes international football, and there's a completely different set of rules in international football," Garcia said.
"There were some feisty challenges and some manhandling. But that's all part and parcel of Champions League football.
"We need to become a little bit more street smart with that to learn to be able to cope in these environments."
The result left Glory at the bottom of Group F with two losses.
But Garcia was proud of his team's performance, especially given that the starting line-up featured five debutants and was almost unrecognisable from the squad previous coach Tony Popovic had at his disposal.
Luke Bodnar, Declan Hughes, Bryce Bafford and 16-year-old Josh Rawlins were among the youngster in the starting side in Garcia's first game in charge.
"The way the boys went about their business and played was very encouraging," Garcia said.
"There were some massive positives out of the game.
"I think they (the young players) started with a few nerves, but grew into the game. As the game went on, their belief in themselves grew and their performances were very good."
Glory's next match is against South Korean club Ulsan Hyundai next Tuesday.
Neil Kilkenny and Osama Malik missed Wednesday's loss through minor niggles and are no guarantee to return against Ulsan.