Leo Osaki reiterates Vissel Kobe ambition to win AFC Champions League 2022

Ahead of their final Group J tie against Kitchee on Sunday, Vissel Kobe are already through to the Round of 16 in AFC Champions League 2022.

And following a curiously poor start to their domestic campaign on the domestic front, with Vissel bottom of the J1 League with just four points and without a win in their first ten matches, Leo Osaki now believes going all the way and becoming crowned champions of Asia is an ideal way to salvage the season.

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"I think so far we've done great," Osaki -- who was part of the Vissel side that fell at the ACL semifinal stage in 2020 -- told ESPN.

"Our team goal is to win the Champions League. With the quality of this squad, I think we have a good chance to win the title."

Given Vissel's star quality boasting names like Andres Iniesta, Bojan Krkic, Yuya Osako and Gotoku Sakai, Osaki concedes that their results in the league have just not been good enough.

Nonetheless, he believes the pressure that comes with being such a formidable side is something his team must thrive on -- and is hopeful they will return to J1 League action after the conclusion of the ACL group stage with renewed vigour.

"We're not just losing. We're losing with quality players and I think the players understand that," explained the 30-year-old.

"That's where the pressure comes from but we have to face these situations.

"Playing in a different tournament and country right now in the Champions League and winning games is slowly bringing back our confidence again.

"Bonding-wise, being with each other for three weeks straight, I think it's helped the team to be organised. The atmosphere is good right now.

"We just need to keep winning and winning, and then we can start winning in the J.League as well."

And for all the stellar names that Vissel boast, although they are currently without Iniesta due to injury, Osaki believes that everyone in the team needs to play their role and not just look to the big guns.

"All these experienced players like Bojan and the Japan internationals bring a positive reaction to the team on and off the field," added Osaki.

"A lot of the young players look up to them but, at the end of the day, it's not an individual sport.

"For me, being involved in this project, I'm blessed for this opportunity and playing with these players will definitely step my game up but, as I said, it's a team sport.

"Looking at the results, we haven't won once in ten games (in the J1 League). That's what we have to focus on.

"We need to grow and be organised as a team, and I think that's where we're at right now."