Australian players focused on winning

Exclusive: Mark Bresciano says the Australian players remain focused on winning Saturday’s return clash against Iraq in Dubai, even though they odds are against them for this clash.

Dubai: Mark Bresciano says the Australian players remain focused on winning Saturday-s return clash against Iraq in Dubai, even though they odds are against them for this clash.

While the hot conditions are the main talking point and will be a fairly big factor in the match, they are also facing a very good Iraq side that is still cursing its luck after last Sunday-s game in Brisbane.

And while the Palermo midfielder acknowledges a draw wouldn-t be a bad result, the players are determined to get qualification settled as quickly as possible to avoid a nervy last two games.

“I think the lot of us are very focused on winning the game,” he said from the teams base at Jebel Ali, north of Dubai. “In every game you play, you do want to win the game and we wouldn-t mind finishing it off early.

“But I think that-s going to be tough. Looking at the other results, I think we-ll probably not finish it off this game and have to wait another week. We-ll do what we can; hopefully try and win and see what the other results are.

“Definitely not,” he said when asked if a draw would be a bad result. “Firstly the conditions; playing away and seeing the way the game went in Brisbane; I mean they had some great opportunities that night to get the win, so putting that altogether, a point overall wouldn-t be a bad result for us.

“But in saying that, we are going to go out there to get a win.”

The players though have been pleasantly surprised by the conditions come training time at their base north of Dubai. The hot conditions mean they can only train once a day at 6.00pm and as the sun goes down, while still hot, a nice breeze has cooled things down considerably and made it quite bearable for the players.

“We-re hoping that it will be similar conditions,” he said. “It wasn-t too bad; I think the boys expected a lot worse.

“I guess you can-t really say what its going to be like on Saturday night, because playing in the stadium you are obviously not going to have the breeze we had last night and will be that little bit warmer. But I think we could deal these conditions.”

Adjusting to this weather is not an easy process, but its one the players except they just have to get used to in order to compete successfully in Asia.

“They (the medical staff) do encourage us to go out a little bit, but not too much, just to get used to the heat and humidity. So maybe we are out for about an hour in the water or for a session in the pool. “But most of the time we are just indoors; we have meals, meetings, massages, treatment. That-s probably the only bad thing about being here; is because we have to wait all day for training with our training sessions at night. You do get a little bored during the day, but we can occupy ourselves with other things.

Given Bresciano-s role in central midfield, he will do his fare share of running and along with the rest of the team will have to curb their natural instincts.

“It does take time to get used the conditions and you also have to be a little bit careful, because you can-t go too flat out, because you don-t want to burn yourself out too early.

“That-s why we tried to get over here as soon as we could, getting the earliest flight out of Brisbane. We will prepare in the best we can, with the little time we have got and we will have no excuses; we will be ready for Saturday.

The conditions will also change how the game is played and the Melbournian believes it will become a more tactical game, especially from Australia-s perspective.

“I think the game will be a little bit more tactical; you know people will be more concerned on positioning; getting into the right positions and not burning energy too fast.

“It-s a matter of seeing what the conditions are like; seeing how physically we feel and also the way the Iraqi-s are going to play. We don-t know what style; what formation they are going to play.

“They were a very tough opponent in Brisbane and they will be a lot tougher on Saturday night. It-s there last chance; if they lose this game or even draw they are out of the equation.

“That-s where we have to be good mentally; get ready for a battle because they are going to be hungry and we have just got to be ready for them and hopefully we get the result.”

Last Sunday, he enjoyed some good combinations with Harry Kewell and Scott McDonald, something he is keen to keep improving while here in camp.

“I think we just need to continue what we-ve been doing, although there is always room for improvement,” he said. “That-s why we will benefit from these qualifying games because of the time we spend together in training and games, so this is a great opportunity for us to be together as a team and improve.”

While some of his fellow teammates have enjoyed stellar seasons, Bresciano himself, has endured a frustrating time with Palermo and readily admits it wasn-t one of his best. It-s also likely we-ll Bresciano wearing a new team shirt next season, but where that will be is anyone-s guess.

“Not my best, but pretty good,” he says of his form at the present moment. “It-s been a very average season for me this year with problems with the clubs; injuries and stuff like that, which is fairly normal in any professional footballers life. I am pretty happy with how things are going; physically I am feeling okay; I am alright.

“I am looking to move on; nothing-s concrete at the moment and we have just to wait and see. The market is opened up now and I just to see what offers there are; what clubs are interested. Hopefully before pre-season starts we-ll make a decision.”