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Derby day in Beijing

Posted on 29 July 2009  - 12:00

Robbie Keane hopes that the challenge presented by playing a local derby on a different continent can help towards the team's primary objective of registering a strong start to the forthcoming campaign.

Derby day in Beijing

Robbie Keane hopes that the challenge presented by playing a local derby on a different continent can help towards the team's primary objective of registering a strong start to the forthcoming campaign.

The boys take on West Ham this evening (July 29, 6pm local time/11am UK) at the Worker's Stadium in Beijing before Hull City take on Beijing Guoan to complete the first stage of the Barclays Asia Trophy.

The winners and losers of each tie meet in the final and 3rd/4th place play-off on Friday at the same venue.

"When you come this far you certainly don't want to lose games and it is important to get momentum," reasoned Robbie. "In recent years we have done really well in pre-season, but come the beginning of the season we have started slowly.

"Ideally you would like to win your friendly games and get off to a good start, but we have been slow starters and need to hit the ground running this season.

"We want to start well and a game like this should help us do that against Liverpool."

Given that we have been without a point on the opening day since defeating Portsmouth at Fratton Park in 2005, it is understandable that Robbie attaches such importance to the August 16 date at White Hart Lane.

"Regardless of who you are playing it is important to have a good start as that has been our stumbling block, where we have been left wondering where we would have been if we had won our first few games.

"This is a fresh start and with this squad we have every chance, the players and everyone at the Club is looking forward to this coming season," added the skipper, whose immediate priority is ensuring the players leave a lasting and positive impression here in China.

"In recent years a lot of Premier League sides have come over to Asia and it has been a big success and I think it is important that we continue that.

"As a club we have a lot of support and it is great to come over to this side of the world and promote the club in the best possible way that we can.

"The fans are very enthusiastic and vocal. It doesn't surprise me because the Premier League is so big these days with many of the best players and it is certainly the best league in the world.

"It is good for us to be here so the fans can see Premier League sides playing."

Robbie

Meanwhile, Robbie was quick to welcome the latest addition to our striking ranks, Peter Crouch, who he believes will provide variety and competition for places.

"Peter is obviously going to offer a completely different dimension to the other strikers that we have. He will give us options and will be a good addition to a good squad.

"As strikers it is important that you are always on your toes. You need a good squad to do well and for myself and the other forwards we know we have to perform to stay in the team.

"If you don't there will always be someone else there to take your place."