Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic says his players will be riding a wave of confidence after two successful A-League seasons heading into their do-or-die Asian Champions League quarter-final next month.
Last season's grand Real Madrid jersey 2015 sale
finalists are in the thick of pre-season training and will play eight games in eight weeks, the first of which will be against the Macarthur Rams at Campbelltown Stadium on Wednesday night, a side Sydney FC beat 5-1 last week.
However, the Wanderers' biggest assignment in the club's history will be against Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande at Pirtek Stadium on August 20 and in Guangzhou on cheap Barcelona jersey 2015
Popovic said the opportunity to play an Asian Champions League semi-final is more than enough motivation for his players this early in the season.
"It's something that is special for the club and the players and they're all keen to be involved in it," Popovic said. "It's going to be tough for myriad reasons. First and foremost the opponent is an excellent team, they have a fantastic manager and they won everything last year in the ACL so we know what we're up against.
"At this club, we've never gone into a game expecting to lose or been content to lose. We we went into the group stages, we lost our first game and everyone expected us to not go through the round of 16, but we did that. We had a tough tie against Sanfrecce (Hiroshima) and the odds were against us in that as well and we got through. The odds are against us again but we'll go in with a lot of belief."
Former Netherlands international Romeo Castelen will play his first game with the Wanderers in Guangzhou after transferring from Dutch first-division team RKC Waalwijk on a two-year deal.
Popovic said expectations are high for the coming season.
"In the first year we came first in the A-League, we came second in year two and we've got two grand finals and a quarter-final in the ACL, so we've had a pretty successful time," Popovic said. "We want to be challenging for honours every year. We don't shy away from that statement and we want to messi jersey 2015
do the same again.
"There's a lot of belief within the club and the playing group. We've had a taste of what success is now and we want some more. Obviously every other team wants to be at the top, they're all improving and we have to improve to stay there."
Wanderers centre-back Nikolai Topor-Stanley said his team are looking forward to the challenge of matching it with arguably the best football club in Asia.
"It's Messi jersey
an opportunity for us as a club to put ourselves on the world map," Topor-Stanley said.
"We've had a fairly major restructure of the squad, we lost a lot of good players last season but the boss is bringing in some players that I'm sure will do a great job and add to the team's quality. We've all got very high standards of ourselves within the group and everyone's accountable so we'll be striving hard to maintain that."