Sulk Over, Time To ‘Turn Up’ Says Lee

May 12, 2017 by

Brisbane Strikers midfielder Michael Lee predicts Brisbane Roar Youth will face the full force of a Brisbane Strikers team determined to banish the memories of last weekend’s Westfield FFA Cup qualifier loss when the two teams meet at AJ Kelly Park, Redcliffe on Saturday night.

Lee said he and his teammates had dealt with the massive disappointment they felt after losing 3-1 to Rochedale Rovers to crash out of the Cup at the first hurdle. They had also accepted the only way to atone for it was to get on with achieving everything they’ve set out to achieve in the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues over the remainder of this season.

“We’ve discussed the Rochedale game and a lot of players and the coaching staff and people around the club are disappointed,” Lee said.

“We can only try and make amends for that by focusing on the league and focusing on the finals and the national playoffs after that.

“We’ve had our little sulk, but we can’t make that mistake bleed into two competitions. We’ve sulked and we’ll move on now.”

If Strikers are to go on and achieve their league and national playoffs objectives, Lee said Roar Youth would need to feel the full force of their determination on Saturday.

“I think they are going to feel the mean side of the Strikers – of us coming off a loss and feeling determined and trying to put it right,” Lee said.

“Nothing is going to be let slip. We’re fully focussed and ready to go”.

While there is no doubt that Rochedale implemented their game plan to perfection to knock Strikers out of the Cup last weekend, and Lee acknowledged and accepted that, what was less acceptable to him was the feeling that Strikers had let themselves down. He said Strikers had performed poorly when measured against the standards they set for themselves.

Lee put that down to that difficult to define football cliché – the failure to “turn up”.

Define it how you will – a failure to fully mentally switch on for the contest, a tendency to underrate the opposition in comparison to your own team even when you know you shouldn’t, an inability to grab the moment, or simply going into a game not fully appreciating that you must bring everything you have to it both physically and mentally – every team seems to fall victim to the “not turning up” syndrome occasionally.

According to Lee, Strikers suffered a massive dose of it at Underwood Park.

“It just seemed to feel that nothing was working for us,” Lee recalled. “Every second ball was bouncing towards them and decisions were made towards them. It just felt like one of those games when unfortunately, on the day, more than half the team didn’t turn up. We just got caught off guard, really.

“I really don’t know what the reason was. The week (prior) at training was all about focusing on the game and everything we did was set up for that game. It was just that we didn’t turn up on the day. We’ve got to take responsibility and we’ve discussed that, so we all know where to go forward from this and make sure it doesn’t happen again”.

Lee said it was difficult to predict exactly what kind of opposition Roar Youth would provide on Saturday, beyond the certainty that they would be fit, energetic and technically proficient as always.

“It depends what players come back from training with their first team and what players they have available”, Lee said.

With the postponement of Roar Youths’ Round 9 fixture against Northern Fury and the subsequent weekend being set aside for Westfield FFA Cup commitments (a competition Roar Youth do not compete in), they have not played a competition game for three weeks. If anything, that makes them even more unpredictable, which makes it imperative that Strikers play to their own strengths.

That is something Lee, who has played against Roar Youth for his previous PlayStation 4 NPL teams, but never before for Strikers, was happy to contemplate.

“It was a completely different team that we had at Redlands. It was nowhere near as good a passing side as what the Strikers have been and are again this year,” Lee said.

“So we sat off them (Roar), purely because we couldn’t maintain possession against them, and played on the counter-attack.

“But as far as Strikers go, my opinion from what I’ve seen in previous years and this year, is we’re by far the best footballing team in the competition. As long as we make sure we turn up there’s no team in the league that could stop us if we play our game and stick to the instructions we get off Laney.

“I just enjoy playing for Strikers, because I know we are going to play football. Anyone who can play football wants to play football. You don’t want to be defending for sixty minutes and playing counter-attacking football for thirty minutes and touching the ball ten times”.

The Roar Youth v Brisbane Strikers game will kick off at 7.15 pm (one hour later than earlier advised), as part of a double-header in which the earlier game will be the Round 11 Flight Centre Premier League fixture between Peninsula Power and Holland Park Hawks (kicking off at 5.00 pm).

Photo: Albert Perez

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