Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold wants to create history by leading the Sky Blues to the last 16 of the AFC Champions League for the first time on Tuesday night.
The Sky Blues face Pohang Steelers, with three points putting Sydney FC in the box seat to qualify for the next round, as Arnold said the squad were playing for the whole country when they kick off against the Koreans at 8pm.
“We’re just not representing Sydney FC tomorrow night, we’re representing the country and Australian football,” Arnold said.
“Foreigners with us, they can’t play for Australia, this is the closest they’ll get to playing for Australia playing in the Champions League for Sydney, so we’re expecting a quality game.
“We have an opportunity to create history at Sydney FC and that’s been one of my big focuses this year, to do that for the fans and the club and the owners.
“We’re in a tough group and to be sitting top is a great achievement but we’re only halfway through, we’ve got to finish it off.”
Arnold said his squad have risen to the challenges that present themselves in continental football as he confirmed he’ll play a full strength squad against the most successful team in the competition.
“It’s exciting to be in the Champions League,” he said.
“I’ve had a big focus on the ACL this year and the boys have done exceptionally well in the two most previous games.
“The boys are enjoying the challenge, playing against different teams and the styles of playing. The challenges are bigger and the boys rise to that occasion.
“I’ve pretty much got 11 players fresh for tomorrow night and hopefully everything will be in our favour.
“The boys trained exceptionally well and they’re excited. Everyone is fit and ready to go and we’ll be full strength.
“We’re hoping for a big crowd tomorrow night, I know we haven’t had a good A-League season, the players and I want to pay the fans back.”