Zamalek coach Patrice Carteron lavished praise on his players after they came from behind to beat Esperance 3-1 in the African Champions League in Friday's quarter-final first leg, which marked their second win over the Tunisians in less than two weeks.
The White Knights recovered from a first-half setback to secure a precious win, thanks to goals from Mohamed Ounajem and Achraf Bencharki as well as a stoppage-time penalty from Mahmoud Alaa.
Carteron said he was happy with how his players responded to Raouf Benguit's 27th-minute opener for Esperance at Cairo Stadium.
"Our players were heroes after recovering from going one goal down," the Frenchman told beIN Sports in a pitch-side interview.
"I think the goal we conceded made us change our game plan and be bolder."
Carteron also praised the players for not being distracted by controversial off-the-field matters, as chairman Mortada Mansour ordered the team to skip an Egyptian Premier League game against arch-rivals Ahly on Monday in protest at the Egyptian Football Association's refusal to postpone the match.
"It was a very difficult week for us, from our [cancelled] match against Ahly until today's game," said the 49-year-old coach.
Carteron is taking nothing for granted despite the first-leg advantage, saying Zamalek still need to give their all in the second leg in Rades next Friday.
"I know that Esperance are a big team. They are the African champions for two consecutive years, that's why we need to work hard and play a big game there," he explained
"Starting from tomorrow, we will start our preparations for the second leg game, because it will be a big and exceptional match."
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)