Arnold satisfied with teams performance

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold was satisfied with his teams performance against Bahrain despite not scoring a bagful of goals against a vastly inexperienced side.

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold was satisfied with his teams performance against Bahrain despite not scoring a bagful of goals against a vastly inexperienced side.

The Bahrain team turned up to Australia with their Olympic team, which somewhat made a mockery of the match in terms of a contest, although they did show a lot of spirit and gave Australia a few anxious moments in the match.

Having scored twice inside the first 25 minutes, many thought the match would turn into a rout for the home side, but no more goals eventuated as the match became a very stop, start affair and Australia unable to get any sort of rhythm in its play.

“Good,” was Arnold-s quick reply when asked how he thought the team performed. “Look, on the mental side of things, when the reports came through that they had bought their Under 23 side, the players started asking questions about that.

“Obviously it takes a little of the motivation out of it.

“It was a little sloppy at stages, because once you try and play a high tempo game and they were going down like flies every couple of minutes; the referee was blowing for fouls all the time, it was very hard to get any rhythm in the game.

“Overall the goal was set to win the game; to top the group and we-ve done that.

For Arnold, the match was all part of the learning process, not only for himself but also the players.

“The players over the last eight days have handled themselves brilliantly. For me they put in a wonderful performance against Paraguay and a very professional performance tonight.

“It-s all new for the players, to play against Arab nations. Most of them have never played against them before, so they don-t know what they are up against, whether they are quick, slow, have good technique, no technique, so it-s all a new learning process for them as well.

“There attitude was very good; at the same time, don-t forget they had a hard game on Saturday night; they-ve had a lot of commercial activity to do and media to help the FFA promote the game, so they-ve had a very hectic eight days.

“Overall I was very, very happy with their performance.”

The match once again showed that we cannot underestimate any team in Asia and that moving to Asian Football Confederation is not as easy as many people would have you believe.

“Moving into Asia, I think people underestimate Asia,” Arnold said. “People think this is going to be a cakewalk but they are so far off the mark it-s not funny.

“They have got wonderful youth development programs in Asia; they have got fantastic facilities; they spend a lot of money on the development of the game and its going to be a tough job, a job that we are going to have to make sure we cover all bases in and do everything the right way and make sure our preparation is great.

“On the football side of it there was only one team out there tonight and that was us and as I said, unless you play in games like that, and I have played in plenty of games like that, it-s very difficult to keep your concentration, keep your desire and making sure you are doing everything right.

“You end up focusing a little bit on what-s happening, you get frustrated with the referees decision, you get frustrated with the ball being out all the time, people going with an injury all the time.

“I mean how many times did the stretcher come on tonight, they must be knackered the people carrying the stretchers. It-s hard to get into a rhythm, to get momentum, but that-s the way football is.

“But we created that many chances and we dominated the game and I had to make sure defensively we kept our discipline at the back, because when you play in games like that where you pretty much dominate the whole game, unless you keep your discipline at the back, you-ll end up copping one on the counter-attack.

Asked about Bresciano-s goal, Arnold simply smiled and said; “Only Bresciano can come up with them. If Mile Sterjovski-s, the one that hit the crossbar had gone in, that would have been a pelter as well.”