Meelarp laments testing conditions

Xavi takes his first training camp as Al Sadd coach

Meelarp's men suffered a 3-2 extra-time defeat to Kashiwa Reysol in Tuesday's qualifying play-off, a result which means they miss out on a spot in the group stage of the competition for the first time since 2008.

The Thai side were up against the elements on the night, with cold and rain making conditions tricky, a factor which Meelarp feels hurt his side. However, despite the defeat the Chonburi mentor praised was happy with his side's effort.

“Today we had to fight against various things in the game and one of those was the weather. It was very cold here," Meelarp said after the match.

“The second one was Kashiwa. They are a high-standard team and it was difficult to play them. But our players showed their fighting spirit and played tenaciously to go into extra-time. 

“Our players showed tenacity in defence and that was not our game plan. It was more from our players’ fighting spirit as I had told them to play hard for the sake of our club and our team. 

“However, it is 33 degrees in Thailand now, and it is very cold here. It was hard for our players to play in this type of weather and I thought our players couldn’t run as much as they do back home late in the game.”