Adelaide United coach Guillermo Amor refuted suggestions that he was forced by club officials to omit key players for Friday's clash with Sydney FC, which ended in the Reds clinging nervously to a nail-biting 2-2 draw.
Entering the match on the back of a short four-day break before an an even shorter three-day break ahead of this Tuesday's AFC Champions League qualifier against China's Shandong Luneng, United understandably fielded a different look against the Sky Blues.
Marcelo Carrusca and Bruce Djite started on the pine and saw limited action, while Craig Goodwin, who Amor said was 'sore', was given the night off.
Reds, Sky Blues in thrilling draw
Regular substitutes Bruce Kamau and George Mells were promoted to the starting XI for Adelaide.
With one eye on the arduous upcoming schedule, the Reds looked understrength but Amor denied it was because of club officials meddling in selection matters.
"Who said that?" he responded when asked about it during the post-match press conference.
"No-one in the club has mentioned anything ever about who can play and who can't play."
Even minus some of their star attractions, United twice managed to hit the lead thanks to Sergio Cirio's first-half brace, only to be pegged back both times by the visitors, who then went on to boss proceedings in the second half albeit without further scoreboard addition.
As far as Amor is concerned, the Reds, whose undefeated stretch has now extended to 10 straight, were firmly focused on getting the job done against Sydney and weren't distracted by potential Asian League prizes.
"For me, I don't think now in (about) Tuesday," Amor said.
"Our head seemed here, in this game. It was the most important at the moment.
"I much prefer to win but after the game, we analyse different things, it's not bad.
"We were in front, which is a very good thing. "We played well against a strong team."
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