EXCLUSIVE: FC Tokyo coach Ranko Popovic believes a number of Brisbane Roar players could play in the J-League and hailed the A-League champions who he said deserved to qualify from their ACL group.
Speaking after the J-League club ended Brisbane’s ACL group hopes last night with an entertaining 4-2 win at Tokyo’s National Stadium, Popovic said Roar were a fabulous advert for the Aussie competition.
“Brisbane is playing beautiful football. This was really a pleasure to have a team like Brisbane be in competition with us,” he told au.fourfourtwo.com.
“Both teams have a similar style and similar ideas of offensive football, attack, with many goals.
“I think this is the beautiful thing. It is propaganda for football because people can see this is real football. Not to play to lose but play to win."
Just over 8,000 supporters braved the driving rain for this midweek clash to see two sides put on a six-goal show.
And at the end of a match that finished without a single booking despite the slippery conditions, FC Tokyo fans were vocal in their praise of their A-League visitors. Roar skipper Matt Smith said this was proof the club play football the right way.
“We tried to play… when the local Tokyo fans are clapping you at the end of the game you know you must’ve done something right,” he said.
As for Roar players who caught the eye of the FC Tokyo coach, Popovic wasn’t willing to pinpoint individuals.
“Many players [could play J-League]," he said. "I saw some really good players. Maybe it’s not correct to talk about individual names but three or four players were really high-quality.
“We’ve gone through in the group but the way they [Roar] are playing, Brisbane also have to go through to second round."