Shanghai SIPG manager Sven Goran Eriksson says Australian Football has developed vastly and has the utmost admiration for the way the game is played down under.
Eriksson has enormous experience in world football, coaching England during the 2002 and 2006 World Cup’s and also managing Roma, Lazio, Manchester City and Leicester and briefly the Mexico National Team.
Shanghai SIPG kick-off their 2016 Asian Champions League campaign against Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Wednesday night, Eriksson says despite the lack of Champions League experience among the squad, they are very enthusiastic for the game.
“We look forward to it very much, we have lot of respect for the opposition tomorrow,” Eriksson said.
“We are very happy to be here in Melbourne, we have around four players who’ve played Champions League but majority of players haven’t been involved.
“I also haven’t managed Champions League in Asia, so happy to be here.”
Eriksson touched on his days at England, particularly the infamous 2003 friendly against Australia where the Socceroos won 3-1 at Upton Park.
The Swede made the comparison to football in his country, stating Australia had better technique in their style of play.
“I remember when I managed England in 2003, we had a friendly against Australia and my players thought it was a friendly game, it was not friendly at all, you killed us,” he joked.
“You beat us 3-1 so I have a lot of respect for Australian football.
“Australian football, for the past three campaigns they’ve made it to the World Cup and have done well, many times
“It’s very tough and aggressive, it’s very much like Swedish Football, but you have better technique, so a lot of respect for your football, absolutely, and you have a big heart.”
Eriksson’s days at Leicester date back to when they were at the bottom of the English Championship, yet now the Foxes are on top of the English Premier League table and look to be the favourites to win it.
With the remarkable turnaround, Leicester almost look certain to play European Champions League next season and Eriksson had the utmost hope for their success.
“The owner has been very important for Leicester, when he bought the club, people were wondering why he was interested and why did he buy that club,” he said.
“He’s genuinely interested in football and he wanted to make Leicester a big club and there they are, they can win it.
“I really hope they will win it that would be really sensational, it would be great for the Premier League.
“I think they have a good chance, they deserve to be where they are. They’re playing very good football, they’re very aggressive and working very hard,.
“They have a striker (Jamie Vardy) who scores goals for fun so I really hope they win it.
“Congratulations to the whole club, I phone them some times to tell them that.”