Mixu excited for challenges ahead

Mixu Paatelainen start to life in Hong Kong might not have been easy, but the Finn is relishing the challenges ahead. This is despite the nation being drawn into a tough World Cup qualifying Group

Put the Taiwan loss behind them 

Life started badly for Mixu in Hong Kong when in June his side lost 2-0 to Taiwan. Nearly three months on from that match they then start World Cup Qualifying away to Cambodia on the 5th September.

It is a game which the side will need to win for them to make any dent in qualification. As a place in the top three could result in qualification for the Asian Cup 2023.

A challenge that could prove to be a lot more difficult greets the team when they return to Hong Kong. This will be seen as they face Asia's top club, Iran on the 10th September at the Hong Kong Stadium.

The 52-year-old said this on the challenges ahead in Group C with Bahrain, Cambodia, Iran and Iraq.

Lady luck was not on our side and we’ve got a very tough group, but I turn it around and see the positives. 
What I intend to do and what I’d love to do here is get our team a lot younger, I’d like to drop the average age considerably. How quickly we can do that is a question, but I will include youngsters in the squad regularly and hopefully more and more so that the youngsters get the experience. 
I’m coming into it from that side. It’s a great experience for these guys. You have to use these occasions for the younger players, and the older players too even if they’ve been in these situations before. 
It’s a real learning curve. I see real positives there. 
Cambodia away is not easy at all, they’ve been together a wee while and they pass the ball well and they’re a really good unit, so that will be a test on its own, never mind Iran in our next game and then Iraq and Bahrain. I’m looking forward to these tough matches and I’m looking towards the future. 
It will be sweaty and sticky and the atmosphere will be bouncing there, that’s for sure. Our job is to silence the crowd and go there with a plan. Hopefully, the players will execute the plan and do their jobs. If that happens then I think we have a good chance of getting a quality result. 
But it’s not going to be easy. The atmosphere, the crowd and the surface of the pitch – I’ve not been there myself but I’ve heard it’s a little bit different – the environment, with everything there will be an added challenge.

It will be hoped for Hong Kong that the optimism felt by their manager resonates throughout the side. If that is to be the case, maybe they can at least be competitive in a Group that will take a massive effect to finish in the top three of. 

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