Adelaide United defender Daniel Mullen says the resurgent Reds have but one aim... AFC Champions League glory, beginning with finishing top of their group.
Adelaide United defender Daniel Mullen has had a pretty good season by the standards of the club, he-s also performing well in the AFC Champions League along with his teammates. The turnaround in form on the back of a poor Hyundai A-League season nothing short of remarkable and and he insists ahead of Adelaide-s clash with Bunyodkor that nothing but top of the group will do.
“It-s really good, what we have done, especially considering the season that we had where there was a lot of frustrating moments, it-s good to turn it around and to have taken our chance in the ACL, but there are still another two games to go and our aim is to finish top of the group and have a home round of 16 game,” Mullen said, before pointing out that his side have nothing to fear from Bunyodkor.
“Being at the top of the group they should be the ones fearing us, not the other way round.
“They will come out hard, we-re expecting them to play some attacking football and try and score some goals.
“When you look at it from our point of view where still not guaranteed a top two result and we-ll come out hard too it should be a pretty attacking game.”
But why the change in form? Adelaide were insipid in the regular home and away season but have turned into world beaters in Asia.
According to Mullen it has to do with most of the squad having benefitted from playing in Asia in the past and playing a game that tends to frustrate teams from the Asian continent.
“We-ve got a few that have played in a few ACL campaigns in the past and we knew it would be a different style game to the A-League. The boys who haven-t we tried to educate them on how to play in this competition,” he said.
It has been a very frustrating year but I think when we started ACL it was a new life for us and we could only look at is positively, coming off with a good start against Bunyodkor that got things rolling.
“It-s about keeping a good defensive shape, where it-s hard to break down and that frustrates the opposition when they can-t play in between the lines, which is what they-re so good at.
They get frustrated and if we can pinch the ball in the middle of the park and attack quickly, the quicker we can get forward the better.”
While it-s always nice for the players to jag wins, Mullen felt it was also important for the Reds to give back to the fans who have suffered through the domestic campaign and Champions League glory is their immediate chance.
“They-re (the fans) the ones that come out every week and support us, I remember playing one of our first games in 2008 against Bunyodkor and the crowd that night was brilliant, it gave me goosebumps when I walked out there and hopefully they can repeat that tomorrow night because they really do make a difference to us.”