FOR the first time since joining Brisbane Roar last year, marquee man Eric Bautheac says he’s fully fit and firing, and that looms as bad news for Wellington Phoenix at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.
Despite the Roar being held to a 1-1 home draw by Central Coast last Sunday, winger Bautheac was one of the best players on the park.
Brisbane coach John Aloisi said he could not remember a better performance from Frenchman Bautheac since his arrival in Australia 12 months ago.
Eric Bautheac looms as a big dangerman for Phoenix today.Source:Getty Images
And the former Lille man agrees – with good reason.
A delay with his visa application meant Bautheac didn’t have a pre-season with the Roar before the club’s 2017-18 campaign, only arriving in Australia two weeks into the season.
It meant his fitness was compromised, leading to injuries and frustrations that he couldn’t regularly live up to his potential.
But it’s a different story this year. Chiselled by a full pre-season with the Roar and buoyed by the attacking depth in Brisbane’s squad, Bautheac is excited by what he and the club can achieve between now and May.
“Last season when I came here it was very hard,” he said.
“Last week (against the Mariners) it was my first game for Brisbane at 100 per cent.
“I was never had 100 per cent last season. Maybe the best I was then was 80 per cent.”
Bautheac said the on and off-field relationship among him and fellow attacking weapons Tobias Mikkelsen, Adam Taggart and Stefan Mauk would be key to Brisbane’s potential success on Sunday and this season.
“We work every day together, there’s a good feeling, we are good friends and on the pitch we have a really good understanding,” said Bautheac, who was also full of praise for late pre-season arrival Alex Lopez, the Spanish midfielder that has taken the spot of club captain Matt McKay.
“I like him because he plays forward and plays quick, and that’s very important for the wingers and the strikers.
“If you play backwards or sideways, it’s easier for the other team to close you down, but he plays forward and breaks the line, and after that it might be a three against four (situation), not three against six.”
Eric Bautheac ohad a big game against the Mariners last week.Source:AAP
Aloisi never doubted Bautheac’s quality.
“We know he had his good games last year, but now he’s really understanding our movements and the understanding of his teammates,” the Roar coach said.
“He’s also got a really good base. His fitness level is starting to show.”
That fitness will be needed in Sunday’s expected hot conditions that should give the Roar a decided advantage over the Phoenix.
“We need our players to play quick, two-or-three-touch football,” Aloisi said.
“We’re used to the heat and humidity, and Wellington probably won’t be, and we need to make the most of it. That means playing at a high tempo, start on the front foot and make them chase us.”
Originally published as Fully-fit Roar star enjoying new lease on life
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