Ange Postecoglou lamented more sloppy mistakes in the Socceroos’ 2-0 loss to Belgium on Friday but believes his side is learning valuable lessons on their journey towards the Asian Cup.
The Socceroos were outclassed by the world no.5 with goals in each half to Dries Mertens and Axel Witsel giving the hosts a relatively comfortable win in Liege.
While the visitors started brightly, once Belgium found their rhythm the Aussies struggled to maintain possession and put any sustained pressure on the Red Devils.
“We competed in patches but again we made some silly mistakes and gave the opposition the chance to punish us,” Postecoglou told Fox Sports.
“On the flipside we had good moments but were just lacking some composure. But we’ve exposed our young players to the most difficult environments and I think they will be better for it.
“For the most part we were good but we were our own worst enemy. At times in transition we took some poor options and would give them the ball back and against good opposition you get found out.
"That’s the disappointing thing but we’ll keep working at it.”
Postecoglou handed debuts to Trent Sainsbury and Chris Herd in defence, while Brad Smith came on for the last 20 minutes after his international clearance came through hours before kick-off.
The Socceroos boss was hoping to build on the impressive showings at the World Cup, despite not picking up a point against Chile, Netherlands or Spain.
It’s now five defeats in a row for the Australians, just five months out from hosting the Asian Cup in January..
“It’s part of the journey. Sometimes you have to go to uncomfortable places and that’s where you learn the most and we would have learned a hell of a lot today,” Postecoglou said.
“For some like Trent Sainsbury, to play his first international against high quality opposition in a cauldron like this, I think it’s going to hold him in great stead and he’s not the only one.
“It’s not great for us feeling all warm and fuzzy with results but we’re learning a great deal from this journey.
"This last series of games, five or six, we’re never going to go through a stretch of games like that again for a very long time," he said.
"Through it we’ve found some players and more importantly our players have learned from the experience.”