Harry Redknapp admits he’s been surprised at the quality of his Jordan side and singled out Caltex Socceroo left back Brad Smith of Liverpool ahead of Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier in Sydney.
Speaking at the official pre-match press conference on Monday, Redknapp was at his charismatic best as he talked up his side’s chances of pulling off a shock in their FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifier in Sydney on Tuesday night.
Having only been in charge of the squad for a couple of weeks, Redknapp oversaw a comfortable 8-0 win over Bangladesh in his first game but knows things will get a whole lot tougher against the Asian champions.
“We know it’s going to be a tough game but I feel we have a very good group of players. I’ve been very impressed with the players since I’ve been here,” he told reporters on Monday in Sydney.
“How do we win? We have to get our heads in front at some stage of the game. The first 20 minutes are going to be important.
“We have to start well because they will come strong at the start.
"It’s important we stay in the game, get a foothold in the game and then take our chances when we get them.”
Redknapp says he has reviewed the Socceroos' 7-0 win over Tajikistan and was left impressed by what Ange Postecoglou’s side produced at Adelaide Oval.
“They are a threat. The fullbacks get forward, I was impressed the other night the boy [Brad] Smith I think is going to be a big player for Liverpool in the future.
“They have a bit of pace in their team as well. They are a dangerous team, there’s no doubt about that but I think we’re a good team as well.
“Tim Cahill is a threat as well. I’ve come across him so many times as a club manager,” Redknapp added.
“He’s as good as anyone I’ve seen of arriving and finding space in the box.
"For a small guy he has an incredible leap. He just has that knack, the ball arrives in the box and Timmy Cahill’s on the end of it.
"That’s something we have to be very aware of tomorrow for sure.”
While admitting Jordan’s win over the Socceroos in October was a huge result for the nation, Redknapp feels it will have little influence on how Tuesday’s clash will play out.
He says his objective since taking the reins has been about instilling belief in his squad they can match it against any nation in the world.
“We showed great belief against Bangladesh…we know this is a much tougher task but everything in life is about confidence,” he said.
“I’ve tried to convince the players that we have got the ability of giving anyone a game and we’re capable of coming here and giving it our best shot to win the game. It’s not an impossibility.
“When I came over I had no idea about Jordan football and how good they were.
"When I arrived I had an open mind and I was surprised by the standard. It’s much higher than I expected. We are underdogs but we’re underdogs with a real fighting chance.”
Redknapp’s deal with Jordan expires after Tuesday night’s game but he says he’s open to continuing on in the role should the Middle East nation remain alive on the road to Russia 2018.
And, encouragingly, he is adamant there will be no repeat of the time-wasting tactics that became a feature of the clash in Amman, where Jordan tried to slow the tempo of the match at every opportunity.
“It’s not something I would encourage…it’s not my game,” Redknapp said.
“That would drive me mad as well as you. Hopefully we don’t see any of that.”
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