Luiz Felipe Scolari offered Eastern coach Chan Yuen-ting words of encouragement after the Brazilian's Guangzhou Evergrande kicked off their Asian Champions League campaign with a 7-0 thrashing of the Hong Kong champions.
Scolari's side picked up a comfortable three points in a game in which Eastern were reduced to nine men before the end of the first half, with Wong Tze-ho dismissed after just three minutes for handling the ball on the line.
Ricardo Goulart, Wang Shangyuan and Liao Lisheng put Evergrande three goals clear by the time Wong Chi-chong was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 34th minute and Guangzhou romped further ahead in the second half with further goals from Wang, Liao, Alan and Paulinho.
"When a team has one player sent off within three minutes of the start of the match and then has a second player sent off a while later, the whole match is different," said Scolari. "Of course, we had an advantage from then.
"I told the coach form Hong Kong that the final score line is not a reflection of the true quality of the two sides. I hope she won't be bothered too much by it, because it was not a normal match."
Eastern were making their debut appearance in the group phase of the competition as Chan became the first woman to coach a team in the Asian Champions League, but for all of the club's history-making the Hong Kong side were comprehensively outclassed.
The game was Guangzhou's first competitive outing of the 2017 season and Scolari's side play again at the weekend when they take on Jiangsu Suning in the Chinese Super Cup.
Scolari's team follow that up with further action in the Asian Champions League against South Korea's Suwon Bluewings ahead of the start of their Chinese Super League defence against Beijing Guoan on March 5.
And the Brazilian, who guided Guangzhou to the last two of the club's six straight CSL titles, believes his team needs more time to reach their usual rhythm.
"We haven't reached our best condition yet," he said. "We need four or five games to get back to our usual status. Huang Bowen and Mei Fang were not included in the 18-man roster today because of injuries and I dropped Kim Hyung-il because we wanted to focus on attacking in this match, I preferred attacking players."