Long-serving Hong Kong-born footballer Tim Bredbury warned Hong Kong clubs will never be able to match top Asian sides again unless serious improvements are made to properly prepare sides playing out of the territory. Bredbury and his Instant-Dict teammates returned to the territory battered and bruised after suffering a 7-1 drubbing by Chinese champions Shanghai Shenhua in the first leg, first round match of the Asian Club Championship in Shanghai. The 33-year-old former South China star, who played a significant role in helping Instant-Dict land last season's First Division and Viceroy Cup titles, said it was frustrating Hong Kong clubs never seem to be properly prepared for their overseas matches. 'The gaps are getting wider and wider,' said Bredbury of the improvements made by top Asian sides. 'The most frustrating thing is that we never seem to be prepared. Unless things change, we won't be able to match these clubs. 'When I first started playing [at an international level], we used to play them for 20 minutes, get them frustrated and come away with a result. You can't do that anymore,' he said. 'At the end of it all we have to pull ourselves together. Our setup must improve and that also means that the players have to improve.' Bredbury scored in the last minute of Wednesday night's mis-matched tie watched by a crowd of about 20,000. His late strike was small consolation for the Hong Kong champions' worst result in an official competition in the club's six year history. Instant-Dict's worst-ever result was a 7-0 hammering by Italian league champions AC Milan in an exhibition last season. 'We let in some bad goals and Shanghai appeared to be much stronger in all departments,' Bredbury said. 'A 7-1 defeat is not a good result for us at all. We would have been happy getting three or four goals. 'It means we're right out of range in the second leg of the tie [September 4, Hong Kong Stadium].' Shanghai, who are seven points adrift of leaders Dalian Wanda in the Chinese Professional League, tore apart Instant-Dict's defence almost at will. China has made leaps and bounds since setting up its professional league several years ago. There have been suggestions that one or two of their professional sides play in the Viceroy Cup, the territory's most prestigious knock-out trophy, but that suggestion is expected to be thrown out because Chinese sides are now considered too strong for Hong Kong clubs. The Hong Kong Football Association is disappointed Instant-Dict did not put up a better fight but stressed it was up to the club to prepare for these matches. 'It's the club's own responsibility to prepare for it. It seems they might have been slightly unlucky to have been drawn against such strong opponents in the first round and in the pre-season,' said Hong Kong FA deputy chief executive officer Miranda Yu. 'The Asian Club Championship usually begins in late August or early September. A lot of our clubs are not 100 per cent fit at this time. 'There is little chance that they can re-arrange their matches so they can be played in October when they are fitter,' she said. In other news, sponsor San Miguel is considering inviting two top sides from the Second Division to increase the number of teams for the coming season's FA Cup from seven to nine teams. Only seven clubs will contest the First Division and San Miguel is keen for a nine-team format. It wants to invite teams like Second Division champions Tung Po.