Abdullah Misfir, the UAE coach, took the positives from his team's performance against China on Thursday, ahead of their vital meeting with South Korea in 2014 World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.
The Emirati, who took over from Srecko Katanec after the team's defeats to Kuwait and Lebanon in World Cup qualifying matches, saw his men go down 2-1 to China in a friendly Thursday.
They next face South Korea in Seoul when another defeat would all but end their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil.
The UAE were 2-0 down after 10 minutes but an improved second-period display saw Eisa Ahmed, a substitute, head home a consolation goal with four minutes to go.
"The result wasn't important for me. What's important for me is to see how well we played," said Misfir at the post match conference.
It was the second defeat in three days for Misfir, after a 2-1 loss to the Chinese club, Fuli Guangzhou.
"I wanted to play against a strong team," he said. "We didn't have a good first half but we settled in well in the second half and scored. We did well to score a late goal, one of the positives we can take from this game. We know there is a lot of work left ahead of the Korea game."
* Compiled by Amith Passela