Pelle wants Shandong to be on their best against JDT

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The competition's leading scorer is adamant that JDT must be respected and Shandong cannot take things lightly in Johor Bahru.

With five goals scored after three rounds of matches played in the 2019 AFC Champions League, Shandong Luneng's Graziano Pelle sits at the top of the pile in the goal scorer's chart. Finding the back of the net in each of the three matches played thus far, the Italian is hoping for his form to continue.

In the corresponding fixture two weeks ago, the former Southampton FC striker converted from the spot to score Shandong's winner in a 2-1 win over Johor Darul Ta'zim and he is raring to go again to help his team's push for a place in the knockout stage.

"I know how important it is for the club in the ACL and we want to go forward in the competition. I hope I can always help the team mate and club to achieve better results. I already saw the games before so I knew JDT are a good team. They maybe deserve more than what they’ve got until now.

"We are used to play in this kind of weather. We’ve played games in south of China where the weather is a bit similar so I have no doubt we can adapt to the conditions," said Pelle in Tuesday's pre-match press conference.

Graziano Pelle, Shandong Luneng

Should Shandong get a win in their maiden experience at Tan Sri Dato Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium, they will reach eight points, giving them an unassailable lead over JDT with two rounds of matches remaining. With only one home game left to be played for the Chinese Super League club, they know they can ill afford to drop points against JDT if they are to match their 2016 efforts of reaching the quarterfinals of the ACL.

Head coach Li Xiao Peng echoes Pelle's sentiments and the former wants his charges to impose their authority and take the game to JDT. Learning from the first match, Li knows which department JDT is strongest at and he will not be taking any risk with his selection.

"It’s another group game for us and very important to decide if we can pass the group. WE need to play with our style and play with our quality to earn our position in the group. Everyone is fit and available so we’ll be able to use our best XI.

"After one match against our opponent, we have a better understanding of them. They keep the ball very well and are dangerous going forward. But we will play with our style and show our ability tomorrow," said Li.

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