Victory's new approach to AFC Champions League

Archie Thompson says Melbourne Victory have changed their attitude towards the AFC Champions League as the club plots an extended run in the competition.

Despite being a powerhouse of the A-League since its inception, Victory have struggled to make an impact in Asia, failing to get out of the ACL group stage in three attempts.

On Saturday they host Muangthong United in a play-off at Simonds Stadium, Geelong, with a spot in the 2014 edition of the tournament up for grabs.

And rather than being reluctant ambassadors for Australian football, Thompson claimed Victory were now determined to join Central Coast Mariners and Western Sydney Wanderers as proud representatives of the A-League.

"What the perception (from) us going into the Asia a few years ago was that we lose money," he said.

"Now we're really looking forward to getting into Asia and doing really well. The rewards (are) there, there's prize money to be had.

"That's what we want as a country, as a league - to do really well in the Asian (Champions League). It's very important for our club to do well on Saturday.

"The league's improved, the clubs are improved. This year is going to be an exciting one for A-League clubs in the Asian (Champions League)."

A scheduling clash meant both AAMI Park and Etihad Stadium were unavailable for Victory's use in the playoff, but Thompson is confident the change of venue will not adversely affect his team's chances.

"We're hoping that the supporters turn out in numbers," he said.

"I heard, I think, that the ticket sales are doing really well, and it'd be a great opportunity for the people of Geelong to see a good football match.

"If we get our supporters as we normally do, the atmosphere will be the same as being at AAMI Park or Etihad Stadium. I don't think the stadium really matters as long as we get numbers."

Although Muangthong, the runners up in last season's Thai Premier League are an unknown quantity to most Australian supporters, Victory have been studying their opponents closely in readiness for Saturday's must-win clash, with former Cardiff City striker and one-cap England international Jay Bothroyd singled out as a threat.

"We've done a bit of homework on them this morning and we know exactly what players they've got and who's dangerous," Thompson said.

"We know they're going to be a good team.

"We've watched a bit of the footage and they've got the big fella Bothroyd ... what we've seen of him this morning, he's a danger.

"But then they've got other players that can be threats all over the pitch. We've got to come and we've got to turn up and play to this best we can to qualify."


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