Brisbane captain Matt Smith says their AFC Champions League clash against Ulsan Hyundai will help his side build momentum ahead of their Hyundai A-League Grand Final date with Perth Glory on Sunday.
Brisbane captain Matthew Smith says the AFC Champions League clash against Ulsan Hyundai will help his side build momentum ahead of their Hyundai A-League Grand Final date with Perth Glory on Sunday.
In what is surely an unprecedented situation in Australian sport, the Roar's preparation for their biggest game of the season will include a must-win midweek fixture against a top international opponent.
With the chance to win back-to-back A-League Championships, the Roar could easily be excused for showing caution or resting players in their clash with K-League big-shots Ulsan, who are undefeated in three ACL matches and lost just once in seven domestic matches so far this season.
But a day out from a contest that many would look at as a burden in an already busy week, the club skipper was sending the right messages, telling press that a real match was a positive for the players and far preferable to what they'd be put through by their coaches in training.
"At the moment we're not focusing too much on the Grand Final on Sunday; it's all about trying to get three points against Ulsan at Suncorp," Smith said.
"We've been preparing for this moment for quite a long time and I'm pleased we do have a game, because otherwise we'd be getting smashed (at training).
"We've kind of gained momentum in the last few weeks because we've had the midweek game. In terms of routine, it feels like we should always have a midweek game now.
"It's more of a positive that we're playing as opposed to a negative and we can create some rhythm heading into Sunday as well."
Having taken two draws and a loss from their opening three ACL fixtures, a win on Tuesday is imperative for Roar - currently bottom of their group - if they are to progress to the second round of competition.
And despite having a major incentive to hold something in reserve for Sunday, coach Ange Postecoglou said the Roar would be sticking to their playing mantra of relentless aggression and would even start "under the weather" star striker Besart Berisha.
"They probably expect Australian teams to go over there and defend for 90 minutes and play a certain style, and we certainly aren't that," said Postecoglou.
"It's more the manner we play rather than the quality we play that have surprised Ulsan and Beijing in the last two games.
"That's what we're about, we want to try to show people we can play the brand of football that we play every week in the A-League against the best in Asia."