"It’s a once in a lifetime tournament for us,” McKay said on Friday.
“Ange has made that clear to us, we're never going to have this opportunity again.
"The expectations are there more so than at the World Cup but I think we can handle it."
A win would be ideal to start the tournament next Friday when Kuwait face the Socceroos at AAMI Park.
And with Kuwait also the opposition for McKay’s Socceroo debut eight years ago, he is hoping to have another crack at the Gulf nation after coming on as a late substitute in 2006 at Allianz Stadium in a 2-0 win.
McKay conceded midfield was a tough area to break into for a starting spot in this national team, describing the competition for places as necessary particularly given the shorter turnaround for group games at the Asian Cup.
“We know that maybe they [Kuwait] are seen as the weaker side in the group but we’re doing our homework and making sure we’re ready for everything they throw at us,” he said.
“The whole squad will be needed for the whole tournament so it won’t be the same XI for every game, so everyone has to be ready."
The Brisbane Roar midfielder was one of the 23 squad members who trained in hot conditions in Melbourne on Friday.
McKay added he expected the intensity will ramp up as the Kuwait game nears.
“We trained a bit earlier this morning and it was a bit of a lighter session and work our way up to that Friday game next week," he said.
He added: "Ange wants us to play entertaining, attacking football but that needs to translate into wins.”
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