'Be more ruthless' - Arnold's message after Caltex Socceroos put five past Nepal
Head coach Graham Arnold may be pleased with his Caltex Socceroos’ display in the 5-0 win against Nepal but he has challenged his team to ‘be more ruthless’.
Jamie Maclaren scored his first international hat-trick and Harry Souttar netted twice on his senior Australia debut at Canberra’s GIO Stadium on Thursday.
The Caltex Socceroos rained in 36 shots on goal to Nepal’s one and scored 50% of their 10 shots on target, while seeing 14 of their attempts blocked.
Having also controlled possession with 76% of the ball, Arnold expected to see a more clinical performance from his dominant side.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Arnold told Fox Sports.
“After only two training sessions that we’ve had in that attacking way... We created plenty of chances but we’ve got to be more ruthless when it counts.”
Matthew Leckie saw a goal on the stroke of half-time disallowed for an offside decision against Maclaren as Arnold demanded more from his charges at the break.
“The message at half-time was we need to do better in the second half and beat the first half in the scoreline and to show great attitude,” he added.
“I thought that you have got to give credit to [Nepal]. They worked extremely hard as a team in a block. It’s a performance we can improve on but overall I’m very happy.”
Arnold admits his side may be forced to face similar challenges when they travel to play Chinese Taipei on Tuesday.
Chinese Taipei fell to a 2-0 defeat against Nepal in round two and Arnold believes the visitors will need to raise the tempo to avoid being frustrated at Kaohsiung Stadium.
“It’ll be about the penetration side of things,” Arnold added.
“I was a little bit frustrated at times when we did get the ball forward early, we went backwards.
“Against teams that play with a packed defence, when you do get it forward you have to continue going forward, otherwise they get men behind the ball and make it difficult for you.”
As Arnold seeks to establish a core group of players competing for spots in his strongest eleven, he admitted changes may be in store for Tuesday’s game.
“I think so,” Arnold told Fox Sports. ”We’ve got Milos Degenek to come back in, Brad Smith is fit and ready, Jimmy Jeggo, Mustafa Amini.
“What we’ve tried to do over the past 12 months is build depth and create competition for places so we’ve got some good ammunition as well.”