Brisbane Roar can shine without stars, says Mike Mulvey
AS MELBOURNE City begins life without David Villa, Brisbane Roar coach Mike Mulvey is confident his team is learning to cope without its own departed stars ahead of tonight's clash between the two sides at Suncorp Stadium.
Besart Berisha moved to Melbourne Victory and Ivan Franjic headed for Moscow in the off-season and the Roar has struggled - losing its first three games of the A-League season.
But Mulvey insisted his team was ready to perform after a week off and get its season back on track.
"I have confidence of a good performance," Mulvey said. "I am not hopeful. I have a good feeling going into the game."
Mulvey was forced to dismiss suggestions of unrest among his players this week as well as see Liam Miller depart after perceived fallout with the coach.
But he said his calm demeanour despite the poor start to the campaign was genuine and he was optimistic everything would come together.
"It's not a facade," Mulvey said. "I would be foolish if I stood here and told you everything is fine if I knew there were things that were wrong.
"I am putting myself out there on a national platform telling you ... that we are in peak form in terms of preparation, belief and confidence. I am happy with the ammunition we have loaded ready to shoot."
No A-League team has won back-to-back championships after going down in its first three matches of the season.
Statistics also say no defending champion has had less than four points after the opening three rounds and managed to make the top six.
Brisbane will be boosted by the return of key midfielder Matt McKay following his two-game suspension for dissent.
Brazilian striker Henrique will be also playing his 100th game and Mulvey was full of praise for his unsung frontman.
"He doesn't get the plaudits of a Thomas (Broich) or a Matt McKay or a Matt Smith ... he's a very quiet boy," he said.
"But he has scored the winning goal in two grand finals, he will live in folklore forever with this club. But the important thing about him is that he wants more."
Whether he's starting for the Roar coming off the bench, the Brazilian said he was happy either way.
"I am in a select group who have played 100 games for this beautiful club and I am very proud of that," Henrique told the club's website.
"I am here to play football, that's what I love to do. I always said no matter what position, what kind of game, I just love being out on the field.
"Of course my job is to score goals and I'm focused on that so I'll try to do my best."
ROAR V CITY
At Suncorp Stadium, 6.30pm (AEST)
Also: Jets v Victory, 4pm (AEST)