De Espirito wary of Hiroshima threat

Shandong Luneng assistant coach Sidnei De Espirito has admitted that his side will have to be at their best if they want to beat Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Tuesday. 

While De Espirito acknowledged that Hiroshima are a strong side, he is confident that Shandong will be able to get their AFC Champions League campaign off to a perfect start.

“Sanfrecce are a strong side and we have done a lot of preparation for the game,” De Espirito, who was filling in for head coach Mano Menezes at the pre-match press conference, told reporters.

“They play with a good formation, combine well and are stable and mature. Up front, they have the likes of Takuma Asano, Hisato Sato and now Peter Utaka, so their attack is very dangerous.

“We are looking forward to playing against such a good team and our players are in a good condition.

“We believe we are capable of dealing with Sanfrecce and a win here can help us start well in the Chinese Super League, too.”

De Espirito has targeted a spot in the knockout stages of the competition, something Shandong have failed to achieve in their last six appearances in the competition.

“Our objective is to make it through the group stage having achieved our initial target of qualifying for the AFC Champions League,” he said. “We’ll make sure to collect points one by and one and make our team grow as one with a winning capability.”