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World Club Championship Monday, 20 December, 1999, 19:21 GMT
Melbourne keep feet on the ground
South Melbourne: Grouped with Man Utd, Vasco da Gama and Necaxa
South Melbourne coach Ange Postecoglou speaks to BBC News Online about his expectations ahead of the World Club Championship and his excitement at being grouped alongside Manchester United.

The World Club Championship may have had its critics but South Melbourne coach Ange Postecoglou is not one of them.


The whole country will be looking to Rio, because when we won the Oceania Cup all the other small island nations were just as excited for us.

Ange Postecoglou
Postecoglou described the tournament as a "once in a lifetime opportunity" and expects it to raise the profile of the game in Australia.

"Since the national league started the highest prize we've had here has been the domestic competition," he said.

"We've been really restricted in terms of us being able to gain international exposure or experience. Something like this coming along lifts the whole profile of the game here."

World Club Championship
The sense of anticipation is not just restricted to Postecoglou himself.

"Every team we play against seems very excited that we're going, particularly as we're playing Manchester United because they've got a great following in this country," he said.

Club veteran

Postecoglou played his whole career with South Melbourne before becoming coach four years ago, leading the side to the championship in the last two campaigns.

Ange Postecoglou
Ange Postecoglou says he is not expecting miracles from his team
He is realistic when looking ahead to the Manchester United encounter. "It's pretty hard to say how we'll approach the match," he said. "Obviously we're coming from worlds apart.

"The standard of our league compared to the standard of competition that Manchester United plays in, the relevant turnovers of clubs in terms of the financial side, we're just in a different world to them, and it's hard to know how you're going to go out there and compete.

"At the same time we're preparing ourselves to be in the best possible condition when we get over there and playing in the best form we possibly can and from then on it becomes a game of football and sometimes surprises happen."

Postecoglou will not be focusing on stopping individuals as he describes the Manchester United team as "all pretty much superstars and all players we need to fear. Manchester United have proved they're the best team in the world and it's going to be hard for us."

No lack of experience

The coach is happy with the look of his team, however. "We've got a pretty even side," he said.


Just about all our players have played internationals at some level, be it the seniors or the Olympics or under-age.

Ange Postecoglou
"Our captain Paul Trimboli has been capped on several occasions.

"Aside from him we've got some exciting youngsters who'll be playing in the Olympics and two or three others who are playing in the national team currently and will be involved in the next World Cup campaign."

League form has been patchy this season, and worryingly in view of the trip to Brazil it is away form where the club has come unstuck.

However, Postecoglou puts this down to other teams raising their game against the two-time champions and an inevitable focus on January's competition.

Melbourne
South Melbourne expect widespread support during the tournament
"There's just so much happening it's difficult to focus on the league," he said.

While Postecoglou accepts that South Melbourne will not win the tournament, he knows what he wants to get out of it.

"Coming from our league it would be a bit much for people to expect us to win the competition.

"We're not going there expecting to lose every game but we're not going there expecting to win every one either.

"We want to go there and show that we deserve to be part of the tournament and if we leave with people saying South Melbourne deserve to be one of the teams there then I think we will have accomplished what we wanted to."

See also:

20 Dec 99 | World Club Championship
20 Dec 99 | World Club Championship
20 Dec 99 | World Club Championship
20 Dec 99 | World Club Championship
20 Dec 99 | World Club Championship
20 Dec 99 | World Club Championship
20 Dec 99 | World Club Championship
20 Dec 99 | World Club Championship
20 Dec 99 | World Club Championship
20 Dec 99 | World Club Championship
20 Dec 99 | World Club Championship
20 Dec 99 | World Club Championship
Links to more World Club Championship stories are at the foot of the page.


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