Brisbane Roar gets ‘friendly’ chance at redemption
BRISBANE Roar captain Matt McKay said he believes the friendly against Spanish club Villarreal at Suncorp Stadium tonight will give his team a chance to redeem what was a disappointing season.
The Roar bowed out in the first week of the finals of the A-League, before being bundled out of the group stage of the Asian Champions League early last month.
Tonight's game will be the last time in charge for coach Frans Thijssen before former Socceroos star and Melbourne Heart coach John Aloisi comes on board, with Aloisi to watch from the stands.
But impressing the incoming new coach will not be the only motivation, with last month's double-disappointment still fresh in the minds of the Roar players.
"I think we've just got to make the most out of this opportunity and these games (with another friendly against English giant Liverpool on July 17) to extend our season," McKay said.
"We should have played longer into the finals.''
McKay said he was looking forward to the challenge of going up against Villarreal's Mexican international and star attacker, Giovani dos Santos.
"For a lot of the young boys, it's a first taste of international football for them, and it'll be a good test to see where they're at,'' he said.
"It'll work us into next year, because this year has been disappointing."
Thijssen said he had no hard feelings leaving the Roar after taking on the interim head-coaching role, following the sacking of Mike Mulvey after a poor start to last season.
He will go back to the Netherlands to re-evaluate his future following this game, but said he was unsure where his assistants, Rado Vidosic and Jeff Hopkins, would end up.
"I've got a good feeling about the seven months I've had here. I'm happy with everybody at the club because I had a good time here," he said.
"My position is clear - I go home next week. But the rest (Vidosic and Hopkins), you can't ask me about them because I can't answer those questions."
Villarreal coach Marcelino Garcia Toral chuckled when a reporter mentioned to him the Roar was branded "Roarcelona" after winning the A-League championship in 2011, with its possession-based play drawing comparisons to mighty Spanish club Barcelona.
Villareal was 2-0 down against Adelaide United last Friday night after goals to winger Craig Goodwin and defender Michael Marrone, before the Spanish outfit took the game 3-2 when Manu Trigueros, Luciano Vietto and Gerard found the net.
"Adelaide had really good midfield players and I'm a little worried the Roar is similar to Barcelona," Toral said through a translator.
"Physically we are not at our best, but we will give it our all."
BRISBANE V VILLAREAL
Suncorp Stadium, 7pm