Bosnar: We can match Asia's best

Central Coast Mariners defender Eddy Bosnar believes Australian teams stack up well against Asia’s best clubs and that the negativity towards the AFC Champions League should end.

Bosnar’s Mariners take on FC Seoul tonight and sit on top of Group F. A result against the Korean side would put the Mariners in the box seat to go through to the next phase.

The experienced centre back, who spent six years playing in Japan, Korea and China, said A-League clubs are a bit hard on themselves when it comes to the Asian Champions League.

“The problem is people say you can’t compete against money,” Bosnar said.

“But you don’t compete against money, you compete against players. I don’t think that the players at the Mariners or the players at the Victory or the players at the Wanderers are any worse, or the quality of the other players are that much better. I don’t think so.

“There’s (Guilherme), Finkler for example, there’s not a better player than him in the J-League. A foreign Brazilian player maybe on par.

“You look at Kim (Seung-yong) that we’ve got on our team. I don’t think that there’s a Korean player anywhere who’s playing anywhere else that’s better than him.

“When you work all those things out, I think we’re a little bit harsh on ourselves. I think we should give more credit to ourselves and to the league, and to our ability because I don’t believe that we’re a lot worse than they are.

“Okay we have to travel maybe a little bit longer than what the other teams do but that shouldn’t be an excuse.”

Melbourne Victory beat Guangzhou Evergrande 2-0 on Tuesday night are in third place in Group G, with all four teams equal on seven points. A positive result in their final match against Jeonbuk would see them go through.

In Group H Western Sydney are in pole position to qualify for the next stage after beating Ulsan Hyundai 2-0. The Wanderers currently top the group with nine points.

Bosnar, who played more than 150 games for JEF United Chiba, Shimizu S-Pulse, Suwon Bluewings and Guangzhou R&F, believes that A-League teams are performing better in Asia with more experience, and must not be overwhelmed with the Asian challenge.

“We’re starting to learn how to play against these teams and we’re starting to think that, look, we have to be confident against them,” the 33-year old said.

“We don’t have anything to lose. They’ve got to play against 11 men, we’ve got to play against 11 men. It’s not like you’re going to play against Barcelona. They’re Asian teams, they’re not as good as we think they are.

“We have to take a totally different approach. We have to be a lot more confident by the time the game starts. Don’t give them too much time on the ball and don’t give them too much respect. You respect them, you respect every team you play against, but I think we give them too much respect and we keep from playing.

“Yeah they’ve got all the money, but it doesn’t mean they’re going to buy the Champions League. They’ve got to still beat you. I’m a little bit disappointed in that because the Australian spirit is not ‘Oh, someone’s better than us or has got more money in us’. We’re always fighters.

Bosnar has only been playing in the A-League since February, but doesn’t feel there is a big difference technically between the A-League and the domestic comps in Japan and Korea.

“Yes a lot of those leagues have a lot more teams,” he added.

“Here, when you play against a team so many times, you work teams out. I think that happens…(but) I don’t think there’s a big difference at all between their leagues and our league, no.”