Talented midfielder Vitaliy Denisov has insisted that Uzbekistan will now only be focussing on their next match and not the possibility of grabbing a quarter-final berth, after they trounced Malaysia 5-0 in their latest AFC Asian Cup 2007 match.
Two goals from Maksim Shatskikh and strikes from Timur Kapadze, Ulugbek Bakaev and Aziz Ibragimov saw Uzbekistan bounce back in splendid fashion following their opening Group C defeat at the hands of Iran.
With one final group game to go against China at the Shah Alam Stadium on Wednesday, the blonde-haired Denisov was keen to err on the side of caution despite helping his country to register their largest ever Asian Cup victory.
"This game against Malaysia was easy for us. We definitely enjoyed scoring five goals and we are now going to start preparing for our next match against China," said the 20-year-old who has recently signed for Ukrainian club side Dnipro.
"We have not thought about going through (to the next phase). If we start thinking about the possibility of playing in the quarter-finals, I think there is a good chance that we could go out."
Although buoyed by the return of four-time Uzbekistan Player of the Year Shatskikh, who had been suspended for the Central Asian outfit’s clash with Iran, Denisov was also keen to point out that his country’s demolition of co-hosts Malaysia was as much down to team work as it was to individual skills.
"Of course, there is no doubt that the return of Maksim had a very positive effect on the team. He is one the best players in our team and he really did help us today as the two goals he scored showed perfectly.
"Having said that, team work is very important to this Uzbekistan side us and I think that shines through whenever we get together as a team. Today we proved that our team effort is very good."
Uzbekistan reached the quarter-finals at the Asian Cup’s 2004 edition in China, but were beaten by Bahrain on penalties after a 2-2 draw. Whilst naturally confident about his side’s chances, Denisov revealed that he had not even thought of reaching the final.
"I am not thinking about the final to be honest," he said.
"The first thing we have to do is qualify for the next phase and then we will have to see what happens then."