Essendon stand-in coach Blake Caracella has praised his team's tenacity, conceding a few Bombers played under duress in Sunday's crunch clash against Adelaide.
After three consecutive losses to start the season, the Bombers registered a vital four-point win against a gallant Adelaide outfit that pressed them right to the wire.
In addition to being without coach Ben Rutten due to health and safety protocols, Caracella said some of the players had been ill during the week.
"We lost 'Truck' (Rutten) this week and (Jake) Stringer and (James) Stewart and (Tom) Cutler (due to injury) and we've got a few other players out also," Caracella said.
"Today, a few of the players were cramping; we've had a bit of the flu go through the club as well. Three or four players were a bit dicey on playing. It was a really great effort, the boys, to dig in late, when it looked like it could go either way, to hang in there and win the game."
Caracella said the playing group hadn't lost faith, despite losses to Geelong, Brisbane and Melbourne.
"It (the win) gives the players a lot of confidence, not to say we… you know, we played some good teams in the first three games, top four teams," he said.
"Last time we played here, against Brisbane, we played really well and pushed them to the finish, and the same against Melbourne last week; I think we were 10 points down with 10 seven minutes to go in the game.
"Four games down, we're 1-3, but we've played some good footy throughout the most part of the season."
Caracella, who admitted to being "excited before the game, but once I got to the game it was business as usual", said the injured Will Snelling, who was subbed off before half-time, is expected to be sidelined for a few weeks.
"I actually don't know if it's the same calf, but it was a calf injury," said Caracella.
"He's an integral part of our team and were going to miss him a lot. He'll be out for a short period."
Snelling missed the first three games after straining a calf in the lead-up to round one.