By FOX Sports staff
Kashiwa were held to a 1-1 draw by their Saudi opponents at the Hitachi Stadium on Wednesday, after Fernando Menegazzo struck a minute before the break for the visitors to cancel out Masato Kudo's 22nd-minute opener.
Particularly disappointing was the fact that the J.League outfit are currently in the midst of their domestic campaign, while the encounter was Al Shabab's first competitive outing since the end of last season.
But with a glut of fixtures coming up before the second leg on September 18, Nelsinho is hopeful his side can improve in time for their next meeting.
"We still [have] one month until we play the next game," he said on the AFC's official website.
"We have games in the J.League and the Nabisco Cup. We have another seven games before we play against Al Shabab, so we still have plenty of opportunities to improve before that game in Riyadh."
It was Al Shabab who created the better chances in the second half on Wednesday, but Kashiwa did come extremely close to finding a winner after Kudo was denied by Waleed Abdullah from close range in injury-time.
Nonetheless, the Brazilian tactician believes a 1-1 draw was ultimately a fair result based on how the game had unfolded.
"We were playing against high quality opponents," Nelsinho added. "As I said [on Tuesday], I expected a close game based on the results of both teams in the group phase.
"There were a few chances for either team and a draw is probably a fair reflection of the game.
"Al Shabab's midfield was very good so we weren't able to take control. We changed our tactics and started to play on the counterattack so that we could create some chances."
On the domestic front, Kashiwa face a real struggle to qualify for the Champions League again in 2014 as they are currently 11th in the league, ten points behind third-placed Urawa Red Diamonds.