EXCLUSIVE: New Brisbane Roar coach Rado Vidosic has swiftly put his stamp on the side by tweaking the A-League champions’ system ahead of their must-win ACL clash with FC Tokyo.
Vidosic takes control of Roar for the first time tomorrow night after last week’s departure of double-championship winning coach Ange Postecoglou.
And with Vidosic’s first game in control against a wily J-League outfit, he has pinpointed the engine-room as an area that requires a tweak.
"The only change that we are going to do for these next two games is that we go from two number 10s to two number sixes,” Vidosic told au.fourfourtwo.com after training on Monday night.
“Just to try to combat the rotational play in wide areas and to see if we can match them and outnumber them in that area.
“And also it gives us more freedom in our rotations. Hopefully that’ll work for us.”
Central midfielder Erik Paartalu welcomed the changes and said it might even allow him more freedom to create in a game that Roar must win and win well to have any chance of progressing through the group.
“Obviously when you play the same formation for 24 months, it takes a bit of time but like the boss says now it’s about improving our system and getting results in Asia," said Paartalu.
“I think maybe our system wasn’t suited to Asia. Obviously I’m used to playing on my own in there but now it becomes more structured in getting help.
“I used to have two guys in front of me, now I have one next to me. And it sort of makes it from a defensive point of view, more stable.
“Which is probably what you need in Asia because they pass the ball really well and are better sides compared to the A-League," he said.
“I’m used to getting 60-100 touches a game, now I’m going to have to limit that now with the formation change. But certainly it gets me more involved in the final third which is good for me as well.”
Paartalu, a recent call up to the Socceroos, said Roar had a point to prove against FC Tokyo: “We had a pretty bad start to the ACL against these guys but we’re here to make amends for that.”
With FC Tokyo losing momentum in the J-League after three losses on the trot and a clear lack of cutting edge up front (eight goals from as many J-League games), Vidosic senses this could be a special night for Roar.
“We need to minimize their goal-scoring opportunities and wait for their mistakes and frustrations then hit them hard,” Vidosic added.
However the new Roar gaffer readily admits going through the group will be a long shot with the Queensland club six points adrift of the top two sides in the group with two games to go.
“We will try to dominate the game," said Vidosic. "We know we need to win 3-0 or 4-1. I’m not sure, if we win 2-0, it may go to goal difference - but that is not our main reason why we’re here.
“We want to improve on our last performance [against FC] in Brisbane and learn as much about the Champions League and ourselves."
The team arrived in Tokyo on Sunday night and had their first session in Tokyo at the Ajinomoto Sports Centre last night.
The 90-minute run was largely focused on an intense 7 v 7 as Vidosic fine-tuned the team’s pressing game using this tweaked midfield set-up.
In team news, Brazilian striker Henrique was left out of the travelling squad because his wife is about to give birth.
Full back Jack Hingert is injured and didn’t travel either. James Meyer has come in as a replacement.