Newly appointed Kitchee coach Alex Gomez faces probably the toughest test in the world as his first match will be against English giants Manchester United.
The Spaniard, a former youth team mentor at the renowned Barcelona academy before coming to Hong Kong, will need to dig deep into his bag of tricks for the match at Hong Kong Stadium on July 29.
"We all know how good the Premier League champions are," said Gomez, who led his first practice session with Kitchee at Shek Kip Mei Park yesterday. "They will come to Hong Kong with a new coach [David Moyes] and I am sure their players will try their best to impress him, making the game that much more difficult for us.
"But we will also try to push them as much as we can and it will be wonderful if we can score a goal."
Gomez, who took over from the popular Josep Gombau (now with Australian side Adelaide), admitted it would take some training sessions before his charges would be match fit.
"They just came back from holidays. Some of them are fine and some of them are not that fit. You cannot expect all of them be ready," Gomez said. "So fitness will be the first thing we will be working on."
The Spaniard is happy to have compatriot Roberto Losada as his assistant. "He has been a player and a coach here and knows the game well. I am grateful to have his support," said Gomez.
Losada won the Footballer of the Year award in his first season with Kitchee in 2011, when the club clinched their first league championship in 47 years. He retired in May last year and spent last season as the club's youth team coach.
"It takes time to understand a new coach, but with Losada, who is very popular among the players, as his assistant, it will definitely make things easier," said fullback Lo Kwan-yee.