Ange Postecoglou was a pleased man after the Croatia loss but bemoaned the lack of a cutting edge up front and urged his players to take more risks next time.
Speaking to reporters after the 1-0 loss, Postecoglou praised the Socceroos’ overall performance despite conceding a Nikica Jelavic goal in the second half of the friendly in Salvador.
“It was solid. I thought our general play was pretty good. I thought defensively we looked good.
“Probably in the final third we lacked composure and a cutting edge,” he said.
“We got into some decent areas but never really threatened. It was probably the one area we let ourselves down a bit.
“But overall we got some good minutes for some players against a quality opponent… progress was made.”
In a game shown live on Brazilian TV ahead of Croatia’s own tournament opener against Brazil, the Socceroos showed plenty of promising signs though they created precious few clear chances in a game that rarely hit the heights.
The Socceroos bossed possession, looking sharp and had good structure against a Croatian side clearly not in top gear in front of a small crowd at the Pituaca stadium.
The Socceroo coach noted the improvement in his team and the individuals in the side who, he says, are being presented with challenges in terms of how Postecoglou wants them to play.
“Every game they’re looking stronger and stronger. And the more they play, the more they’ll get that composure needed.
“They’re growing in confidence every day. And they’ll be disappointed they lost – which is a good thing.”
The Socceroo boss also played down concerns about his team being too willing in challenges against the Croatians.
“I think there were a few willing challenges from them too,” he said.
Croatia came into the game in the second half and took the lead shortly after the break courtesy of Hull City’s Nikica Jelavic, though there was a hint of offside.
“At times we did play a little too safe and at times we could’ve taken a bit more of a risk,” he added.
“When ‘Bresh’ came on he helped a little bit… and we looked a little more threatening.
“Overall though I never thought we were causing the problems in the final third that we could’ve.”
Postecoglou said late substitute Bresciano came through the game fine and said with another week’s training could potentially start against Chile in Australia’s group opener. He said he was was pleased with the output he got from his veteran midfielder.
The Socceroo boss added the focus was now on Chile on June 13 (June 14 AEST kick off 8am), and he said the analysis of their South American opponent was well advanced.
“Our whole work this week will be on diminishing their strengths and expose some of their weaknesses.”
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