Roar ACL exit may be a blessing in disguise

Be careful what you wish for, so the old saying goes, and Brisbane Roar fans calling for the head of coach Mike Mulvey might like to consider the alternative.

Be careful what you wish for, so the old saying goes, and Brisbane Roar fans calling for the head of coach Mike Mulvey might like to consider the alternative.

For one thing, the Roar supporters who unveiled a "Mulvey out" banner during Sunday-s 2-0 win over Wellington Phoenix at Suncorp Stadium found their timing a little off.

Not only had Brisbane already opened a comfortable lead by the time the Roar fans unveiled their handiwork, but Mulvey has just signed a two-year deal to remain in charge of the reigning Hyundai A-League champions.

That-s despite a league record, which before the win over Wellington, saw Mulvey collect only three victories and a draw from his nine games in charge.

Of course, the main reason for the Roar supporters- angst was Brisbane-s penalty shoot-out exit at the hands of Thai outfit Buriram United in their AFC Champions League playoff last week.

Or should that be at the hands of Siwarak, the spritely Buriram goalkeeper who saved all three of Brisbane-s penalties and celebrated each stop with a kind of joyous whirlybird celebration.

“We will go to the Champions League together,”Buriram chairman and the club-s driving force Newin Chidchob said after the win.

“We will celebrate Valentine's Day together with this ticket to the Champions League.”

It-s a ticket many Roar fans expected to be coming their way, but would Brisbane be any better off playing in Asia?

Buriram-s group is unquestionably tough, featuring South Korean champions FC Seoul, Chinese Super League runners-up Jiangsu Sainty and J. League second-placed finishers Vegalta Sendai.

If Roar fans thought Besart Berisha was a prolific goal scorer, one wonders what they-d make of Montenegrin international Dejan Damjanovic-s 31 goals in 40 appearances for FC Seoul last season.

Colombian teammate Mauricio Molina rattled home 18 goals and contributed a staggering 19 assists and the club from the Korean capital have made it clear that winning the ACL is a priority.

Jiangsu Sainty surprised everyone to finish second in China but there were few eyebrows raised over in Japan at the fact northern outfit Vegalta Sendai finished as runner-up.

Not only are Sendai one of the best-supported teams in the J. League, they-re also one of the most aggressive and there-s no doubt they-ll be looking to rough up a few unwary opponents on the continent.

The chance to compete against Asia-s best notwithstanding - is copping a few stray elbows from Makoto Kakuda really the best way for Mulvey to go about improving his side?

It-s an undeniable fact that Brisbane have dropped back into the pack in terms of competitiveness.

Not only were the Roar not good enough to beat a team from Thailand for a place in the ACL group stage, they barely look good enough to finish in the top six and qualify for the A-League finals.

And that, surely, is what Mulvey has been brought in to fix.

It-s easy to blame the coach when things don-t go your way but having already moved Rado Vidosic upstairs, the Roar can ill-afford to waste another season next time around.

That-s why Mulvey needs to be given time to mould a squad as he sees fit, including signing his preferred players at the end of the current campaign. If not Mulvey, then who?

After two seasons of unprecedented results under former coach Ange Postecoglou, Brisbane have become the victims of their own success.

No longer the competition-s premier outfit, Roar fans have found it tough to see that role relinquished to the likes of Central Coast, Western Sydney and Melbourne Victory.

The 2-0 win over Wellington was a step in the right direction but there-s still a long road ahead.

If there-s one ingredient Mike Mulvey needs more than any other, it-s time - so missing out on the ACL may just be a blessing in disguise.