Fresh from unveiling his AFC Champions League 2016 squad, Sydney FC Head Coach Graham Arnold said he’s looking forward to the refreshing change that continental football will bring the Sky Blues.
Arnold said the Sky Blues Champions League campaign was the result of hard work the season before as he said the hectic schedule of midweek games was what the players played for.
“If players don’t want to play in these types of games then they’re in the wrong club,” he said.
“This is what people play for, they played all last year to get in the top two to achieve the opportunity to play in the Champions League.
“It’s what footballers play for, to play games, and we’ve got a lot of games coming up in a short period.
“The Asian Champions League is something refreshing, something real different that you get the opportunity to travel away to Asia and play different opposition,” he continued.
“I had the experience at the Mariners, I played there two years in a row and it refreshes the group of players mentally because it’s something new.
“To have the opportunity to go and play against top quality players, different tactics and styles of teams, it’s refreshing mentally as well as on the field.”
Arnold also believes that the Sky Blues are contesting one of the toughest groups in the competition.
“There’s no doubt that we’re in a very difficult group,” Arnold said.
“Guangzhou’s budget is probably 40 times more than ours, Pohang’s is 30 and Urawa’s is 20. It’s not impossible, the Wanderers showed that and when I was at the Mariners we made the last 16.
“It’s important that you win your home games, I know the Asian teams don’t really travel as good as what they can, they depend on their home games as well, so defensively and mentally we have to be very strong away from home.
“We have to go for it at home and win our home games to go through to the next stage.”
Meanwhile Sky Blues captain Alex Brosque said he’s feeling physically good and is confident of performing in Asia.
“I’m feeling good. Physically I feel fine and going into this week I’ll be able to back up fine,” Brosque continued.
“It’s a good competition, we see ourselves as a big club and to be a big club you have to challenge on both fronts and I believe we’re good enough to do that.
“We’re not looking behind us, we’re looking forward. This is a big month for us and if we can get back on track things will be looking good. We’re just looking forward to this period.”
Sydney FC take on the Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday 20 February at Allianz Stadium in the third Sydney Derby of the season (kick off 7:30pm). Catch the game live on Fox Sports 4, listen live on ABC Grandstand or follow @SydneyFC on Twitter for updates.
Sydney FC welcome Guangzhou Evergrande to Sydney Football Stadium for their first home AFC Champions League match of the group stage on Wednesday 2 March (kick off 8pm AEDT). Get your AFC Champions League Membership today and see the Sky Blues take on the best in Asia at home!