Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia feels that victory in Monday’s AFC Champions League clash with Shanghai Shenhua would be a fitting reward for the hard work his squad have put into their Group F campaign thus far.
The men in purple have run their opponents extremely close in each of the three games they have played since the tournament resumed in Doha, having also been unfortunate to emerge empty-handed from their opening fixture against FC Tokyo back in February.
And Garcia believes they are extremely unfortunate not to have opened their account in terms of ACL points.
“It is important that we get the taste of winning in our mouths,” he said.
“Performance-wise and the way they’ve conducted themselves, [the squad] has been fantastic.
“Everyone has bought into what we’re trying to do on and off the park.
“For me, the win would be a reward for their hard work and efforts and would leave a good taste in their mouths before they go into quarantine.
“To get a win after their fantastic displays over the last three games would be the icing on the cake.
“The boys are very hungry and they know how close they’ve been in the games which is driving them on.
“Coming away from all three games [in Doha] without any points has hit them hard, but they haven’t tried to put any excuses on board and they are pushing themselves to… get the win.”
Garcia went on to confirm that he will shuffle his selection pack once again in what will be Glory’s penultimate game of the tournament.
“Everyone is fighting fit, other than a small niggle for [Nick] D’Agostino,” he said.
“We’ll probably freshen it up again on Monday and give those who were rested another game under their belt.
“We’re just trying to find that real balance where we have them fresh enough for the games, but at the same time pushing for the season and keeping them in a good spot heading into quarantine.
“We’re looking to really push on now in these final two games.
“I can slowly see their bodies getting stronger and they [the players] are getting more confident in their bodies, which is fantastic.”
The Head Coach also revealed that the shape and tactical approach that he has deployed in Doha thus far is unlikely to mirror the way he chooses to go during the upcoming domestic campaign.
“I think we’ve set up a little bit differently to how we’ll set up back in the A-League,” he said, “and that’s one, to protect the players and two, to play against Asian opposition.
“We’ve set up in a way that suits Champions League football and the fitness levels of the players at the moment and as the players get stronger and fitter, we’ll evolve into A-League mode when we get back [to Perth].
“For me, the most pleasing thing is that the players have taken the instructions on board and have carried them out well.
“The team has been very disciplined and very resilient and those key factors will hold us in good stead for the season.
“Those qualities are always important in football and it’s good to see that our players have that in spades.”
Shanghai Shenhua, meanwhile, require three points to keep their hopes of reaching the knockout stage of the tournament alive.
In addition to defeating Glory, Choi kang-Hee’s men beat and then lost to FC Tokyo and were also downed by group leaders Ulsan Hyundai.
AFC Champions League 2020 Group F
Shanghai Shenhua v Perth Glory
Education City Stadium, Doha
Tuesday 30 November 2020
Kick-off: 9pm WST (live on Fox Sports Channel 507 and via Kayo)