Respect a balancing act for Oman

Oman comes into Wednesday's Asian Cup qualifier against Australia at Etihad Stadium with a strong respect for both its opponents and the match itself.

Oman comes into Wednesday's Asian Cup qualifier against Australia at Etihad Stadium with a strong respect for both its opponents and the match itself.

But French-born coach Claude Le Roy has called on his players to not be overawed by the task confronting them against a full-strength Australian team, saying that if they respect themselves and the game, the result can follow.

"The players have to very positive, and each game has its own truth. We have to respect the Australians, but not too much. It's always to find a good balance. It's good to respect your team. But not too much, All these players are big, big stars, from everywhere. It's not just Kewell, Cahill, Kennedy, it's Carney, it's Wilkshire, very important players, but it-s about us as well," Le Roy said.

Getting a good result against Australia will get Oman within reach of qualification for the Asian Cup for the third consecutive time. Le Roy has targeted 10 points as the benchmark his team needs to achieve, meaning he needs six more in the four remaining matches.

But he won't be settling simply for a point in Wednesday's match, saying that the mindset of his team needed to be attacking.

"We are in a good mood. We have played a lot of good games. We'll try to play our normal game. We won't worry about being too defensive or offensive. If they are better than us, we will have to defend a lot, if we can create some chances, then the pressure is on them," he said.

"In football, you have to respect the players. The players enjoy their football when they can attack. You have to respect the fans too. If you want to keep them, you have to respect your football. When you don-t respect the football, the football kills you."

"We'll have to concentrate a lot during the 90 minutes. Because a single fault, we have to pay cash."

Le Roy suggested that Australia may be a little flat after last Saturday's 0-0 draw against the Netherlands.

"We don't know the psychology of this Australian team. I read everywhere, that the more important game of the week was the game against Oman. Maybe, you are not the same player when you play against Huntelaar, van Bronckhorst, Sneijder, when you play against players from Oman," he said.

"All the players are the same in the world. The motivations was high against Netherlands to make a good result against one of the best teams in the world. We hope that they will be a little bit tired, we hope they will have a little bit less concentration. We know that we have everything to win, we have nothing to lose in this game."

Goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi, who played in the match in the last Asian Cup where Australia needed a last-minute goal from Tim Cahill to escape with the draw, believes his team has improved since that encounter in Bangkok.

"It was a good game, it was the first time we met Australia. We played a fantastic game, we led until the 90th minute when Cahill scored. But this is football. They were lucky in that game, but the game tomorrow will be different," he said.

"I think if you look two years ago and now, Oman as a team has improved. We have played a lot more games as a team, we have played better opposition. We won the Gulf Cup, which was a big thing for us."