Mark Milligan says a real team ethos and the Australian mentality is a big reason behind the Caltex Socceroos' success under coach Ange Postecoglou.
Ahead of what will be his 49th Socceroos appearance against Greece in Melbourne on Tuesday night, Milligan said it’s crucial the squad ends this camp with a big performance at Etihad Stadium.
Strong displays have been a feature of the Socceroos under Postecoglou and – having been around the senior national team since 2006 – Milligan says something special with this group.
“When I first started out, we were probably like a lot of other international teams where we had a lot of good individual players and we had coaches coming in from all over the world,” he told FFA TV.
“Now it’s more to do with the team. Having an Australian coach again with the Australian mentality helps us.
“We have a lot of young boys that are coming through who probably haven’t established themselves yet but we have a really good understanding of each other’s game, of how the boss wants us to play and I think that’s the best thing about this side is we can do it more as a group.”
The clash with Greece in Melbourne tonight (Tues) is the last hit-out for the side before the next phase of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers start in September.
With so much depth built in the squad over the last two years, there is plenty of motivation for the players to impress as they look to cement their spot in the squad going forward.
But that’s not the only reason the battle with the Greeks is vital for the side.
“It’s very important for us coming into qualifications that we’re all on the same page and we’re still building, but we’ve had a long-term goal for quite a while and that is to be the best we possibly can be,” the 30-year-old said.
“Every time we come into camp we work extremely hard to achieve that we work hard to continue to take steps forward.
“Tuesday night will be about improving how we play and our style but obviously it’s important being our last hit-out before the very important qualification stage.”
Milligan spent three seasons at Melbourne Victory – winning the championship in 2015 – and is excited to be back playing in the city in front of what should be a bumper crowd at Etihad Stadium, where the roof will be closed.