Ange Postecoglou says the Caltex Socceroos were made to pay for a lack of composure and flow in their game as they went down to a fired-up Greece on Tuesday night.
The Socceroos produced a flat display at Etihad Stadium, conceding twice in the first 20 minutes on the way to a 2-1 defeat to the impressive Europeans.
“They got the jump on us and we didn’t react well, particularly in the first half,” a disappointed Postecoglou told Fox Sports after the match.
“We got sucked in to playing their game a little bit, we got a little frustrated, were giving away silly fouls and diving into things, we just lost our composure.
“We were chasing the game and it was always going to be difficult to get back into it. It’s disappointing we didn’t have a better reaction to what happened at the beginning.
“When you’re playing quality teams they are going to get a jump on you at times, it could happen in a World Cup qualifier where a team goes a goal up on us and we have to react better,” the Socceroo boss added.
In an – at times – spiteful affair, the Socceroos struggled to get any rhythm to their passing game which was so good against England and in Sydney on Saturday night.
After falling behind to Petros Mantalos’ early strike, the Socceroos were soon two down after an incredible 60-metre effort from Ioannis Maniatis, who caught keeper Adam Federici well off his line.
“That’s my responsibility, that’s not his [Federici],” Postecoglou said when asked if it was his instruction for the gloveman to keep such a high line.
“We’ve been playing that high line for a while and every now and then we’ll get done by it. But I take responsibility, that’s my fault not Adam’s.”
To the Socceroos credit, they did improve after the break and pulled a goal back just before the hour mark through Trent Sainsbury.
But they were unable to find an equaliser, meaning they head into the next phase of FIFA World Cup qualifying in September on the back of a defeat.
Postecoglou said the three friendlies over the last two weeks has helped him discover a couple of players who will add to the team in the future but has urged his squad to be playing regularly at their clubs to help the team perform going forward.
“The key thing for us is to play our type of football we have to be in peak physical condition and again we’ve had a lot of guys come in who aren’t in the greatest condition,” Postecoglou said.
“By September there’s going to be a real push to pick guys that are playing regularly and are fit.
“Two games in a short space of time with travel and playing our kind of football, we need guys to be in the best shape possible and tonight I think it was one game too many for a few of them.”