Abu Dhabi: Bahrain coach Miroslav Soukup is hoping that this young squad will have enough “hunger” to surprise their much more fancied rivals and hosts UAE in the opening match of the AFC Asian Cup at the Zayed Sport City Stadium on Saturday.

“If you want to make a good result then every single aspect of the game has to come together perfectly,” said Soukup. “Individual performance, team effort, yellow cards and stuff also matter. So luck also should be there. Inshallah, I hope that the young team has the hunger to get a positive result.”

Soukup has told his team not to be afraid of losing. “I have told them to give their best on the pitch,” he said. “We can lose the game but when they go out of the pitch I want them to hold their heads high. Not look towards the grass and think too much on the performance. I trust them to do that.”

Soukup feels that the best thing to happen for their team was to play the opener against UAE.

“We are happy that we are in Group A because we are starting off against the home team,” he said. “The atmosphere will be great with all the spectators and the stadium is nice. So it is a positive thing. We know we are not favourite but since one year after the Gulf Cup in Kuwait, we have worked hard and improved and are ready.

“All the coaches have a lot of information about their opponent and we also have that. We know the quality of UAE as this place is not far away from Bahrain. We respect their quality and know they are the favourite to move ahead from our group. What can we do other than play well and try to be a threat to them.”

Bahrain captain Abdul Wahab Ali said that the contest will be difficult but the squad is well prepared. “Opening matches are always tough but we are confident,” he said. “The atmosphere is going to be great, so all the boys are looking forward to it.”