Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou says his side will gain confidence from keeping their first clean-sheet this year but lamented a “disjointed” attack in their clash with UAE on Saturday morning (AEDT).
In a dour contest played in stifling conditions in Abu Dhabi, the Socceroos dominated the hosts but were unable to make the most of the few chances they created as the match finished goalless.
“It wasn’t so much the heat, I just thought in the front third we looked a little disjointed,” Postecoglou told Fox Sports.
“It’s understandable. That was (Robbie Kruse’s) first game for almost a year and Bernie’s (Ibini) first game ever for us so we did look a bit disjointed.
“But certainly when James Troisi came on and Brad Smith on the left-hand side we had a bit more penetration and looked a bit more threatening. That’s part of the development.”
Despite dominating the first half, the home side produced the best chance of the first 45 minutes, with only Alex Wilkinson’s goal-line clearance keeping scores level at the break.
It was a rare scare for the Socceroos, who looked much more assured in defence as they kept their first clean-sheet in nine internationals, dating back to Postecoglou’s first game in charge against Costa Rica last year.
“I don’t go home and pop champagne corks on clean sheets. It doesn’t really excite me,” the Socceroos boss said.
“But playing away from home in tough conditions, Maty didn’t really have a save to make; the best save was Wilko on the goal line.
“It will be good for their confidence for sure and I thought we defended better as a team. But it’s the kind of game we should look to dominate a bit more.”
The Socceroos will know need to recover and prepare for a clash with Qatar in four days’ time.
Postecoglou confirmed Western Sydney Wanderers FC defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley would get some game time in that one while he was hopeful of having Tommy Oar (groin) and Ivan Franjic (illness) available again.