Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou claims it’s all about the bigger picture, rather than results, ahead of the friendly against Qatar.
Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou won’t be chasing a win against Qatar just to appease the critics, insisting he’s all about the long term.
Postecoglou is aware some unconvincing post-World Cup performances, including Friday’s scoreless draw with the United Arab Emirates, have left the Socceroos open to scrutiny and concern over their progress ahead of the Asian Cup in January.
But he claims he simply doesn’t care, saying opinions are welcome but they won’t distract him from plans to blood new talent while he can and take the time to implement a new attacking philosophy.
“People are judging me right now and judging the team but that’s not what I’m looking at,” Postecoglou told AAP ahead Tuesday’s (Wednesday morning AEST) match in Doha, Australia’s 500th A international.
“From my perspective, we’re trying to build a side here and whenever you want to do that you’ve got to go through a process.
“You can go through that process trying to dodge criticism but I don’t think that’ll get you where you want to go.
“You just go through the process and take what you get along with way.”
Postecoglou pointed out seven players aged 23 or under started against UAE.
He says now is the time to give opportunities to younger players who he hopes will make up a broad talent pool for the Asian Cup and 2018 World Cup campaign.
“We haven’t had that consistency (in results) but we can’t try things during the Asian Cup and we can’t try things during World Cup qualifiers,” he said.
Former Socceroos coach Rale Rasic this week claimed Postecoglou was not being held accountable for results.
Asked if he was placing internal pressure on getting a win against Qatar in Australia’s penultimate friendly before the Asian Cup, Postecoglou said he “wasn’t interested in any short term stuff.”
“People forget but I didn’t get off to a flying start at Brisbane and I didn’t get off to a flying start with Melbourne,” the former A-League winning coach said.
“Whatever people say now, I’ve heard it all before, and it doesn’t change what we’re going to do.”
Postecoglou will make up to six changes to his side to face an in-form Qatar, who posted big wins over Uzbekistan and Lebanon last week.
Western Sydney defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley will start in central defence while Tommy Oar (groin), Mark Bresciano (back) and Chris Herd (Achilles) are all expected to return after missing the UAE match.
First-choice goalkeeper Mat Ryan will be rested with Mitch Langerak and recalled gloveman Adam Federici likely to get half a game each.
Tim Cahill should be restored up front after coming off the bench in Abu Dhabi as Bernie Ibini started on debut.
Australia have won three of four previous matches against Qatar but Postecoglou believes another hit-out in the oppressive Middle Eastern heat against improving opposition will benefit his side.
“All these countries are building up toward the Gulf Cup so they’re in serious preparation mode,” he said.
“We expect another really tough game and that’s exactly what we need.”
AUSTRALIA v QATAR
October 14, 7pm (0300 Wednesday AEDT)
Lekhwiya Stadium, Doha
World rankings: Australia 84, Qatar 96
Head to head: Australia 3, drawn 1, Qatar 0
Last meeting: Australia drew Qatar 0-0, Doha, June 2009
Odds: Australia $2.30, Draw $3.25, Qatar $2.90
Possible Socceroos line-up: Mitch Langerak (gk), Jason Davidson, Alex Wilkinson, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Chris Herd, Mile Jedinak (capt), Mark Milligan, Mark Bresciano, Tommy Oar, Tim Cahill.