Ahead of their UEFA Champions League matchday five visit to FC Porto, FK Austria Wien midfielder James Holland says the Violets may need to adopt a risk-taking approach to keep their European campaign alive.
Several months on from helping the Austrian title holders into the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time, Australian international Holland says the experience he has gained in the tournament will prove invaluable to his career. However, with Nenad Bjelica's team still alive in Group G – despite having just a point to show for their efforts against Porto, FC Zenit and Club Atlético de Madrid – the 24-year-old is reluctant to sound prematurely nostalgic about the competition.
"We will play to win," Holland said of Austria's trip to the Estádio do Dragão on 26 November. "We did quite well against Porto at home [when visiting midfielder Lucho González scored the only goal]. I thought we played some really good football. We had chances to score and maybe could even have won it had we had a bit of luck. Tactically, we did quite well and I think there were things we can bring into the second game against them."
Austria's only Group G point so far came away to FC Zenit, a match that preceded two comprehensive defeats by section winners Atlético. "They are a team that can really punish you," the former AZ Alkmaar and Sparta Rotterdam man said of the Spaniards. "I thought we were quite comfortable against them at one stage but then, bang, they score and, bang, they score again. They don't do anything out of the ordinary but they play so effectively. They play great football while keeping things simple."
Describing his January 2012 move from the Netherlands to the Austrian capital as "unexpected," Holland hopes regular playing time in a "strong and often underestimated" top flight will increase his prospects of making Australia's 2014 FIFA World Cup squad. The Sydneysider already has 59 Bundesliga appearances to his name.
More immediately, however, there are European ambitions to realise. "[If UEFA Champions League progress is not possible], then we won't be giving up in our fight for a UEFA Europa League spot," he said. "That's what I want and I know it's what the team want too. We will look to see how we can break Porto down but in our attempts to win, we will obviously have to take some risks. Hopefully we can get the right result."
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