Essendon senior coach Ben Rutten says he was far from disappointed at his side's output in Sunday's seven-point loss to Sydney at the MCG.
The Bombers led the red-hot Swans for the majority of the first half, but were overrun in the second in an epic shootout that saw Sydney prevail 17.7 (109) to 16.6 (102).
While lamenting the loss, Rutten said his side returned to its brand of its footy after a disappointing fortnight on the road.
"We came here to win, and in some respects, I think we did enough to win the game, but probably still a little too much cost in our game, which probably undoes a bit of our good work," Rutten said.
"But overall, the way we played today, I much rather that than the last couple of weeks where I don't think we were at our best and playing the brand of footy that we've started to show across the majority of our season so far.
"I was pleased with the effort and output, which I have been all season, but Sydney are obviously one of the real in-form teams in the competition at the moment, well-balanced team across the board, there's no shame in losing to them."
Rutten was proud of Jayden Laverde's efforts against Lance Franklin, with the key defender playing most of the second half with an injured right shoulder and holding the champion to two goals.
Laverde's substitution with around five minutes remaining revealed the Bombers had reached their maximum interchange rotations, and there was some confusion before Brayden Ham was allowed on to the field.
"I think we had one or two left, and then Jayden copped another knock on his shoulder and couldn't keep going. We just had to get the paperwork done to get the sub through," Rutten said.
"Did 'Hammy' get on in the end? I should have known, I was down there. We were trying to work out who we wanted to get off to get Hammy on and try and create something. It wasn't ideal to do all that in the last minutes, but that's kind of what happened."
The Bombers, who sit a game outside the top eight, are scheduled to face the league-leading Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on Friday night.
- with AFL.com.au