Victory to take positive mindset to Hiroshima

Kosta Barbarouses and his teammates have taken the a lot out their Match Day 1 performance in the AFC Champions League and will travel to Hiroshima with a positive mindset ahead of Tuesday’s match against Sanfrecce.

“It’s very exciting, we actually looked through some of the footage from the game on Tuesday and there were lots of positives to take out of it,” Barbarouses said on Friday.

“If you’re not getting the wins that you want, you’ve got to take positives from the situations. We’ll work our way through it, like we always do.

“We’re working hard, that’s not going to change. We’re too good to not get back into winning ways and I’m sure we will sooner rather than later.

“We want to build on that and get better from there, execute [and] finish off our build-up play. We can go over there, do some damage and kick-off our Champions League campaign.”

The group flies out on Friday afternoon and will begin preparations almost immediately after they set up camp in Hiroshima.

In terms of studying a new opponent Barbarouses has an idea of what to expect but is embracing the challenge of the unknown.  

“We’re easing into that now. We’ll go over there and do our work first of all. Kevin and the staff do all their research beforehand and base our sessions off that.

“Some of the Asian teams are comfortable with you having possession, like we saw on Tuesday. Daegu wanted to soak up that pressure and play on the counter attack – and, to be fair to them – it worked.

“I think it might be different next Tuesday, Japanese teams are more possession based. We just have to adjust.

“The difference [to the A-League] is having to work on unknown team every game… which makes it interesting. We’ll focus on what we can do and working on our strengths.”

One potential difference of note will be the climate, with the boys in blue set to trade Melbourne’s recent heatwave for a far more temperate Japanese environment, though it might be of benefit to the visitors. 

“After a bowl of ramen I’ll be good, nice and warm,” Barbarouses said with a smile.

“I think as players we probably prefer playing in the cool, to be honest. Playing in a summer league can make it tough at times… I think it helps us with our stamina, we’ll be able to run and give our best in the cooler weather.

On the cusp of his best goal return in an A-League season, the Kiwi international is also closing in on the Club’s all-time AFC Champions League scoring record – something he wasn’t aware of – with one goal needed to tie both Kevin Muscat and Besart Berisha’s tally of six in the tournament. 

“How many do I need?” the Victory number nine asked with a grin.

“That’s a good little incentive. I always chip in with a couple goals in the Champions League, I was close on Tuesday with a couple chances.

“I wasn’t aware of that, but it’d be a nice achievement.”

Melbourne Victory plays Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Match Day 2 of the AFC Champions League on Tuesday 12 March. Kick-off is at 9:00pm AEDT.