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Mar 6, 2012

ACL loss to make Roar stronger: coach

Used to setting the A-League benchmark, Brisbane Roar coach Ange Postecoglou says his side now realise how much more improvement is required to succeed in the Asian Champions League.

A side that has hogged the A-League limelight for so long showed rare signs of stage fright at a wet Suncorp Stadium on Tuesday night as they lost 2-0 to fellow ACL debutants FC Tokyo from Japan.

Considered Australia's best chance to match Adelaide United's 2008 ACL grand final appearance, the Roar were outclassed by a side that had been recently promoted to Japan's top league and were still in pre-season mode.

However, Postecoglou said his team would emerge from the humbling experience a better side.

"We take heart from it. The players now know the level we are playing at and the level required," he said.

"I always felt the first game would be the one we would be really tested in because it is a new experience.

"We were a little bit nervous at the start which was understandable.

"It is not something you just walk into and feel comfortable in straight away.

"I think it will be good for us. The experience will keep us in good stead for the following games."

There is no respite in sight for the Roar whose next two ACL games are away - to Beijing Guoan on March 20 and South Korea's Ulsan Hyundai on April 4.

And they must back up against fellow ACL aspirants Adelaide United at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday to keep their A-League minor premiership hopes alive.

But Postecoglou vowed not to change their up-tempo, high possession game for anyone.

"For us, it is about taking a first step (in the ACL)," he said.

"It was a tentative step at best, but there are still five games to go.

"I have a feeling we will get better and better as the tournament goes on.

"I am very confident as each game comes along, we will have more of an understanding of the level that we need to play.

"We will keep the Roar style. Whether we get results, we will find out - but we won't change our approach."

Postecoglou found an unlikely ally with FC Tokyo coach Ranko Popovic glowing in his praise of the Roar.

"I am not someone who gives compliments without reason. But Brisbane is one of the teams I am enjoying to watch," he said.

"They are doing very well. I compliment Brisbane on their game.

"But this competition is very good. It's a new experience for everyone.

"This is the only way you can improve. And we want to be better too."

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