Barbarouses urges Victory to be flexible ahead of big clash in Hiroshima

Melbourne Victory forward Kosta Barbarouses says his side must adapt to different playing styles as they enter Matchday Two of their AFC Champions League campaign.

Victory travel to Japan to face Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Tuesday night (AEDT) and will be hoping to take at least a point after they fell 3-1 to Daegu FC in their opening match.

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Barbarouses said he expected Victory to have less of the ball but that they would have to keep an open mind when approaching opposition.

“Some of the Asian teams are comfortable with you having possession like we saw on Tuesday, Daegu wanted to soak up that pressure and play on the counter-attack and to be fair to them it worked,” Barbarouses said.

“I think it may be different on Tuesday where the Japanese teams are more possession based so we’ve just got to adjust. The difference is having to work on an unknown team every game and it’s always the first three rounds that make it really interesting.”

Despite losing their first home game in Asia’s showpiece club competition since 2011, Barbarouses said Victory saw enough to work with as they head to Hiroshima, a match that doubles as marquee Keisuke Honda’s first club game in his homeland in over a decade.

“We actually looked at footage of the game on Tuesday and there’s a lot of positives to take out of that game,” Barbarouses said.

“We just want to build on that and get better and sort of execute and finish off some of the build-up play that was really good and finish up with an end result. I think we can go over there and do some damage and kick off our Champions League campaign.”

The 29-year old has largely played as a winger during his time in Melbourne but injuries to several personnel including striker Ola Toivonen as well as a change in formation has seen him move into a more central role.

Having netted 11 times in 21 games, it’s a change that Barbarouses is all too happy to accommodate.

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“I love it,” he said.

“I grew up playing as a number nine and got moved out wider when maybe I stopped growing and others kept growing and because I’m quick that’s the first position they really look at you.

“I’m loving being back central, obviously sometimes I drift wide depending on the opposition but it’s been great and I think the goal return shows that too.”