CENTRAL Coast Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold says the yellow and navy are prepared for their opening Group H match of the 2013 AFC Champions League against K-League Classic outfit Suwon Bluewings at Central Coast Stadium on Wednesday evening.
“We have done our homework, we won’t be surprised with the way that they play. It’s just about nullifying their quality and we have worked on that,” Arnold said.
“We’ve got to do what we do best and that is to be organised. We know that they have got very good players, we’ve highlighted to our team their strengths and we see a few weaknesses and we have to try and capitalise on those.”
Arnold believes it is crucial that his side open their campaign with a victory and collect as many points as possible at home if they are to advance from the group stage in Asia’s premier club competition.
“Home games are crucial, if you get three points at home and a point away, you are in for a successful season. If in this six-round competition, you get three wins at home, nine points should probably get you second place and get you into the second round and that’s our goal,” he said.
Central Coast head into the encounter with the four-time K-League Champions following a comprehensive 6-2 win over Melbourne Victory last Saturday but they will need to be at their best if they are to secure their second ever win in the AFC Champions League.
“Our performance against Melbourne Victory was top class. We are going to have to play like that again for us to compete with them (Suwon), especially with what they bring to the table,” he said.
New Zealand international Michael McGlinchey says the Mariners are focussed on the job at hand despite this Saturday’s Round 23 top-of-the-table Hyundai A-League clash with Western Sydney Wanderers.
“We are all looking forward to the game. There are games coming up that are important as well but the main focus is obviously on tomorrow night and everybody is ready to go,” McGlinchey said.
The hosts will rest skipper John Hutchinson and veteran defender Patrick Zwaanswijk for the match with Seo Jung-won’s men, but Arnold believes there is enough depth in the squad to cover for the loss of two of the side’s most influential players.
“Patrick is 38 so he will be rested. Hutchinson had to come off with a tight groin, ten minutes from the end (of last Saturday’s match against Victory) and if the (AFC Champions League) game was on maybe Thursday or Friday, he would probably have been fit to play, but everyone else is fit,” Arnold said.
2013 AFC Champions League Matchday 1 - Central Coast Mariners (AUS) vs. Suwon Bluewings (KOR)
Wednesday 27 February, 2013
Central Coast Stadium, GosfordKick-off:
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