Thorsten Fink has taken confidence from two fine performances against AS Roma, if only three points, and is looking for further improvement when CFR Cluj 1907 come calling on Tuesday.
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As FC Basel 1893 strive to reverse their UEFA Champions League fortunes, coach Thorsten Fink has stressed the importance of full focus from his side against CFR Cluj 1907.
Despite having scored seven goals in their four Group E games, the Swiss champions find themselves at the foot of the section and in need of a win on Tuesday in order to keep their UEFA Champions League adventure going. Basel have performed well for long spells in three of their four matches but have just three points to show for their European travails; a fact Fink attributes to lapses in concentration.
"We need to stay fully focused for 90 or 94 minutes, not just 70 or 75," he said. "Against Cluj [a 2-1 loss on Matchday 1] we lacked focus to begin with and we didn't really play after that. We will have to make better use of our opportunities and play more in their penalty area. We have to force them into making mistakes."
Performances since that opening defeat in Romania have given cause for optimism, however. Only an 89th-minute winner by Bastian Schweinsteiger saw Basel slide to a narrow defeat by Fink's former club FC Bayern München while their 3-1 success at Roma, before a 3-2 reverse against the Giallorossi in Switzerland, suggested that they are capable of holding their own at this level.
"We're always a bit disappointed when we dominate a game and go on to lose," said Fink. "Roma are a fine team and they showed great quality up front. You could see that with [Mirko] Vučinić and [Jérémy] Menez and [Francesco] Totti. But I'm happy with our performances against them – I'd say that we were the better team twice. That will give us confidence for the future, but now we're looking ahead – we want to beat Cluj and then qualify for the Europa League."
Fink extended his contract by two years until June 2013 at the end of October, a reward for guiding the St. Jakob-Park outfit to the Swiss double in his first campaign. "I signed because I wanted to make a point that this is a club where you can work over a long period of time," continued the German, 43. "The management work well together and we have a great team, great players, great stadium, great supporters and a great atmosphere at the club."
And what would define success for Basel? "Success at the moment is how we perform in the Champions League. We're no whipping boys that you can play off the park; we have shown that we can compete and that we can beat top foreign teams and that's important to us. It's important for us to get into Champions League every year, that's our goal and if we do that, we're successful."