Coach Aurelio Vidmar has warned his Adelaide United players to keep a lid on their expectations as they take a 3-0 lead into their AFC Champions' League semi-final return leg with Uzbekistan's Bunyodkor later this month.
Adelaide are on the cusp of becoming the first Australian club to reach the ACL final after taking a three-goal cushion from their home first leg on Wednesday. The Reds travel to Tashkent for the return semi-final leg against Bunyodkor on 22 October to decide who goes through to face one of the two Japanese teams, Urawa Red Diamonds and Gamba Osaka, in next month's two-legged final.
"It's going to be difficult because most people would think with this scoreline we have got a foot in the door," Vidmar said Thursday. "And that is what the danger is. We are going to really rely on the whole squad's maturity." Vidmar also warned his players and Reds' fans of the uncertainty facing the team ahead of the clash with the Uzbeki championship league leaders in Tashkent.
"We are going into the unknown, we are going into Tashkent, we have got absolutely no idea what to expect," he said. "And I'm sure there will be a fair bit of gamesmanship going on because they want to do everything they possibly can to reverse the result.
"Over the last couple of weeks we have spoken to just about everyone at the FFA (Football Federation Australia) because the Socceroos played inTashkent recently. So in terms of the hotel we are going to, the food, and all of those sorts of things - the Socceroos and the Joeys (U-17s), who are there at the moment, had some problems with food poisoning so that is something we really need to have a good look at," he said. Vidmar said Adelaide would not be relying solely on defence to secure the first ACL finals appearance by an Australian club.
"It's certainly a game where they are going to have to come at us and we are certainly going to have our backs to the wall," he said. "If you go there thinking you are going to hold a 3-0 lead, your mindset becomes very defensive and if they do get a goal or two early, it's very hard to change that mindset and to try and get forward. This game has a funny way of slapping you in the face and if you think that everything is going to be sweet, it generally goes pear-shaped, so we have really got to be smart about this."