Melbourne Victory coach Grant Brebner says the A-League team will be firm underdogs when they return to Asian Champions League action against Beijing Guoan at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium on Tuesday night.
Victory are entering their stint in Doha with only one scratch match against Melbourne City under their belt due to Melbourne's lockdown and Brebner said his attack-minded side would have to be smart defensively against Beijing, who are on top of ACL group E.
"Of course we want to get a brand of football, (a) style of football which starts implementing how we want to play in the A-League," Brebner told reporters on Monday.
"But, again, this'll all be dictated to by the opposition as well. We're the underdogs in this game.
"So for us to come out and say 'we're going to do this and we're going to do that' - it'll be dictated to by our opposition as well.
"We're talking internally about 'we're not coming here just to make up numbers'. Of course we desperately want to get out of the group. We have to be smart with that because ... we haven't played a game yet."
Brebner said his side needed to be wary of Beijing's "movement" and clever attacking play - while Jonathan Viera, Renato Augusto and Fernando will also pose a challenge.
He lauded recruit Jake Brimmer's early impact and flagged potentially throwing signings Ben Folami and Dylan Ryan - who travelled directly to Doha from Europe - into the mix early.
Recruit Jacob Butterfield completed 14 days' hotel quarantine in Perth and only spent a short time training with Victory before flying to Doha - and Brebner said the midfielder would be used "sporadically" to minimise injury risk.
Wingers Callum McManaman and Marco Rojas will also be managed through the campaign while Robbie Kruse (knee surgery) didn't travel.
Victory already have three points from two games - beating Chiangrai United in Melbourne and losing to FC Seoul in South Korea in February.
Brebner said the hub experience could deliver the "togetherness" that could push them up the A-League table after a shocking 2019-20 season.
"We cannot finish 10th again and we understand that whether we're playing well, playing badly, we're going to have a squad of players that desperately want to win football games for the benefit of everybody else - not just themselves," he said.