Perth coach Ian Ferguson says his players should regard facing superstar Alessandro Del Piero as an exciting rather than a daunting one.
The West Australians head to ANZ Stadium to tackle the Sky Blues on Sunday and Ferguson is keen to ensure they go into the game with the right attitude.
“To have a player of that calibre on the park is fantastic,” he said.
“It must be a buzz to go and play against a guy of that stature who’s won numerous European Cups and championships.
“For our players to go and show what they’ve got, to see if they can go to the next level, that’s surely a challenge for them.”
When asked how Glory intend to shackle the former Juventus and Italy man, Ferguson initially produced a tongue-in-cheek response before going on to reject claims made earlier this week that his side are overly physical.
“We’ll kick him off the park,” he joked.
“No, he’s obviously a player that will need close attention.
“You can’t give a player like Del Piero space and time on the ball because he’ll crucify you.
“The plan is to go out there and make sure we don’t give him that room.
“The stats show that we are not the dirtiest team in the league,” he continued.
“There are four teams above us in that respect and I’m sick of hearing the same crap every year.
“We are actually a far better football team than people give us credit for.”
Last weekend’s comfortable 2-0 home win over Melbourne Heart lifted Ferguson’s side to second on the ladder and the coach clearly feels the club is heading in the right direction.
“Perth Glory has a good feeling about it at the moment,” he said. “Confidence is good and long may that continue.
“Including our two pre-season friendlies against Melbourne Heart and Melbourne Victory, we’ve now played five games and done really well in every one of them.
“Even against Central Coast, it wasn’t the prettiest of football, but there was a gameplan and it was two high-tempo teams cancelling each other out.
“We really should have got a point out of it, but that’s football.
“I’m reasonably happy with where we’re at and I’m very confident in the boys and about the challenge ahead.
“We have to stay focused, no matter who we’re playing, on what we can do and just try and get the three points in every game we play.”
In terms of team news ahead of Sunday’s game, Shane Smeltz, Ryo Nagai and Evan Berger remain sidelined, but Bas van den Brink returns to the squad having missed the victory over Heart due to a minor calf strain.
Ferguson, however, would not be drawn on whether the centre-back would oust Steve Pantelidis from the starting eleven.
“I’ve not made my mind up yet.,” he said.
“I thought the boys did a fantastic job last week and it’s a decision I’m keeping close to my chest and will make tomorrow (Saturday).
“It was a tough choice deciding who I would start with at the beginning of the season and then Steve came in and did well and now Bas is back and fit and I’ve got that decision to make again.
“But that’s my job and hopefully I’ll make the right decision again.”
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