March 16, 2015 11:55:55 UK
Brisbane Roar coach Frans Thijssen admits the team’s fixture schedule is hurting – and it’s not going to get any better.
The defending A-League champions are facing a battle to qualify for this season’s finals, with sixth spot now looking to be a straight contest between them and Melbourne City.
The Roar, who are two points behind City after their 5-4 defeat to Sydney FC on Sunday, have two more games to play than their rivals. They will also have to contend with four more Asian Champions League group games between now and the end of the A-League season, including trips to South Korea and China.
Brisbane, who are 11.00 to win the Grand Final, scored first against Sydney, but then conceded four goals, including a hat-trick to A-League leading scorer Marc Janko.
Thijssen said: “We’ve had some trips over the last weeks a lot of games so it’s no surprise that a few players showed they were really tired and you saw that in the second half too.
“I don’t like excuses but you could see some players we had to think about giving a rest.”
He added: “I was quite happy with the first 35 minutes until they got the penalty and [to go 2-1 up]. Then it was heads down a little bit and you saw players were a bit tired.”
Brisbane can’t afford to take too much of their focus off the Asian Champions League, as their next two games will go a long way to deciding whether they make it through to the knock-out stages.
Both the Roar and Suwon Samsung Bluebirds are on three points after two games and are set to battle it out for the second qualification spot in Group G.
Thijssen’s side host the Korean side on Wednesday at Robina Stadium, where they are 2.40 for the win, before travelling to Suwon for the return on 8th April.
It means they will be in action twice a week for the next four weeks, as they have rescheduled A-League games to play against Western Sydney and Melbourne Victory.
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