Leo Lacroix has enjoyed a stellar debut season with Western United in the Isuzu UTE A-League Men, and the Swiss star will be looking to continue that form in the upcoming semi-final tie against Melbourne Victory.
United will face its rivals in the first leg of the tie on Tuesday night before the return fixture on Saturday, May 21 as the two sides battle it out for a spot in the A-League Men Grand Final.
Lacroix said he will be calling upon his experience in cup competitions in Europe to guide him through his first experience of Finals football in Australia.
“I won the Swiss Cup in 2015 with Sion; we played a semi-final with Hamburg against Red Bull Leipzig, so I know how it is an important game that we are going to play tomorrow, and I think all the team is ready for that,” he said.
“Thank God I played a lot of big games in my career. I love playing these games because you can feel the atmosphere. Playing a game like that is unbelievable, and we are ready for a fight and to do our job.”
Lacroix has also played Champions League knockout football for Swiss giant FC Basel, playing 90 minutes in both legs of a Round of 16 tie against Manchester City in 2018.
Faced with a dynamic Melbourne Victory attack, Lacroix said he is focusing on himself and the team and ensuring everyone is ready for the game.
“We are focused only on us. If you want to talk about strikers, I’ve played against many strikers – (Sergio) Aguero, (Kylian) Mbappe, Neymar,” he said.
“I don’t focus on who I’m going to play against tomorrow, I’m focusing on me, how can I feel good, how can I give confidence to my partner to make a good game.”
United failed to beat Victory in three attempts this season with a draw and two tight losses. Lacroix said he and his teammates aren’t phased by previous results and are feeling good ahead of the match.
“It’s two games. It’s true, Victory we drew one and lost two but tomorrow will be another game. We are confident, we are ready for that, we trained all the season for these moments,” he said.
Lacroix has shone his first campaign in the A-League Men, winning a PFA Player of the Month award and receiving a nomination for the A-Leagues All-Stars team in recognition of his performances.
The No.4 made 23 appearances in the regular season, scoring three goals from centre-back and contributing to United’s league-leading tally of 10 clean sheets.
The 30-year-old has played alongside a number of different partners at the back but has taken it all in his stride and led the defence no matter who he is playing next to.
“It doesn’t matter with who I play close to me. The most important is the communication, to be together, fight for each other, and doing your job,” he said.
Lacroix will be out to continue that dominant form in defence for the remainder of the finals as Western United looks to pick up its first piece of silverware.
“I think for the Club it’s important. Especially for us because we are a new Club, and to win something for the Club would be fantastic,” he said.
Tickets are now on sale for Western United members for both semi-final legs with the Green and Black army all heading behind the goal at the South End of the stadium. Secure your tickets now and help the Club to make history at AAMI Park.