Pressure won't bother Vidmar

Aurelio Vidmar has a big job ahead of him over the next few weeks as he looks to get the Australian Under 23s squad into the London Olympics, but true to form, the confident and knowledgeable coach isn't daunted.

Aurelio Vidmar has a big job ahead of him over the next few weeks as he looks to get the Australian Under 23s squad into the London Olympics, but true to form, the confident and knowledgeable coach isn't daunted.

The young Australian side has three games left in qualifying to get to the top of their group and book their ticket to the Games later this year.

Vidmar's promising and emerging squad haven't lost a game or conceded a goal in their first three qualifiers but haven't been able to turn that into wins either meaning they have a little bit of work ahead of them to qualify over the next month or so.

The fact Australia hasn't missed an Olympics since 1988 brings pressures of its own but it's of little concern to the Under 23s boss.

With two crucial away fixtures against Uzbekistan and the United Arab Emirates in the next couple of weeks, Vidmar is totally focused in getting the best out of his side and securing the results needed.

It's the way he's operated as a coach ever since he got his first taste in the coaching ranks from the recently-retired player that took up an assistant's role under John Kosmina at Adelaide United less than seven years ago.

Working under the hard-nosed Kosmina was the best apprenticeship Vidmar could have hoped for, developing both the experience and mental strength needed to succeed as the top man.

It hasn't always been an easy road for Vidmar during his time later as head coach of the Reds but the club's march to the Asian Champions League final in 2008 proved he could cut it at the elite level.

Since that time Vidmar has always been seen as a potential future national team coach and since taking over as Socceroos assistant and Australian under-23 boss midway through 2010 has shown that is a distinct possibility down the track.

Vidmar has learned a lot working alongside Qantas Socceroos coach Holger Osieck with the Aussies already through to the final stage of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

But it's Vidmar's work in nurturing the talent of the impressive batch of youngsters in the Under 23s squad that is most significant.

While the wins haven't materialised in qualifying yet, the players that are emerging from that squad shows the portents are good for the future.

But now comes his biggest test as the Under 23s side face must-win matches over the next couple of weeks to keep their Olympics dream alive.

Australia are third of four in their group with three matches to play. On top of the group, two points clear of Australia are Uzbekistan, whom they play in Tashkent on Sunday.

The side then faces UAE in Abu Dhabi on February 22 and Iraq at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford on March 14.

"The next two games for us are certainly do or die," Vidmar said.

"It'll be tough, because Uzbekistan away is never an easy game but I still think this group can do it."

As a player who had such a successful time with the Socceroos as well as in Europe, Vidmar always worked hard at his game and never left any stone unturned.

It's a trait he's taken into management as well as evidenced by his approach to these cut throat games ahead.

Vidmar has hired a professional chef to travel with the squad to ensure no players are struck by illness ahead of the games.

The Aussie boss had some members of his Adelaide squad affected during their Champions League campaign while it has also struck the Young Socceroos in the past.

"Given the history of going there, you try to avoid players getting sick," Vidmar said.

"When we went to the Champions League we took a chef from Adelaide, so we will do it again.

"The chef will get there a couple of days before us and make sure everything is prepared and ready to go."

Hopefully there will also be no problems for the Australians in front of goal.

While the side's defensive play, discipline and organisational structure has been a real positive under Vidmar, the finishing touches have been missing for the under-23's in attack.

The inclusion of Kerem Bulut, currently playing for Czech club FK Mlada Boleslav, could be the difference as Vidmar's troops look to finish off the chances they create in matches.

"Certainly, in the games against Iraq and Uzbekistan we were getting into good areas and creating a number of very good chances where we didn't score," Vidmar said.

"Hopefully, we're going to be able to put those chances away because there's not much in it, most of these games have been decided by the odd goal here and there's been a lot of draws in this group.

"We probably won't have a lot of time before the first game [to prepare the attack] but for the second game we'll be able to do a little bit more for the structure of our front third."

Asked about Bulut, Vidmar said: "He's certainly a player who wears his heart on his sleeve and he wants to really do well."

"He's been out of competition for the past three weeks, so we'll need to have a look at him.

"He's a player who can stand up at key points of the game, and he's a goalscorer."