Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou says his side paid the price for getting the “small details” wrong in their 2-1 defeat to Japan on Tuesday night in Osaka.
An encouraging first half in Osaka was soured by a couple of lapses in concentration after the break as goals to Yasuyuki Konno and Shinji Okazaki ensured victory for the Samurai Blue.
“We were poor on set-pieces all night…at this level its unacceptable,” a disappointed Postecoglou told Fox Sports.
“We had an excellent first half and even at the start of the second we were looking really good and comfortable then we conceded the goal and it gave them the momentum and a little bit of belief.
“It was positive but ultimately we can’t defend like that at set pieces. It’s alright getting that part of the game right then be let down by the details.
“The players worked hard, the football was good but when those details are missing you pay the price.”
Postecoglou decided to leave talisman Tim Cahill on the bench in favour of an attacking triumvirate of Robbie Kruse, James Troisi and Mathew Leckie.
While the trio combined well they struggled to produce the quality final ball in the attacking third.
Cahill was finally introduced into the fray with 17 minutes left and it was no surprise when he scored Australia’s consolation goal with a trademark header in stoppage time.
Asked if he regretted not putting Australia’s greatest-ever goal-scorer on earlier, Postecoglou said: “No regrets. We obviously need to expose our players and a lot of them learned a great deal tonight.
“Aziz (Behich) and Trent Sainsbury have only got a few games between them and I thought they acquitted themselves well and got some good international experience.”
With less than two months until the Asian Cup gets underway, Postecoglou admitted the side still have plenty of work to do not only on themselves but assessing their opponents.
He stressed how important it was for the players to go back and play regularly for their clubs or risk missing out on a berth in the squad for the tournament.