Adelaide United will no longer be treated as easybeats by Asia’s soccer heavyweights, defender Daniel Mullen says.
Mullen scored both goals in Tuesday’s night 2-0 Asian Champions League victory against Gamba Osaka – the first time the Japanese powerhouse have lost to an Australian side.
Mullen suspects Gamba may have been lulled by United’s bleak A-League season, where they’re cemented in ninth spot with just five wins.
“We actually played some real good football and outplayed them in patches which we probably weren’t expecting to do,” Mullen said.
“And maybe they didn’t give us enough respect at the start of the game.
“That is something now the other teams will probably change in their mindset, so we’ll have to up our game again and I think we’re capable of that.”
Mullen’s double came within 25 minutes at Hindmarsh Stadium, both from crumbs resulting from crafty set pieces.
“I haven’t scored two goals in a game for a while, probably since I was 10-years-old and I was a striker,” he said.
“Being a defender, scoring two doesn’t happen too much.
“It’s good to get the goals but obviously the team performance is what matters and the three points is very important.”
Mullen said the victory, and United’s away upset win against Uzbekistan’s Bunyodkor a fortnight ago in their ACL opener, made their domestic woes even more puzzling.
“The quality that we have in our team, we should be playing this type of football all year,” he said.
“It has been a very disappointing season, you can’t forget about that.
“But in terms of ACL, that is our main priority now and we’re going to make the most of it.
“Winning makes people happy inside and outside the dressing room.
“Everyone is real tight and there is just a real good vibe around the rooms at the moment which is showing on the pitch as well.”