Socceroo striker Nathan Burns says the rising tensions and security fears in Tajikistan are no concerns for the players ahead of Tuesday night’s FIFA World Cup qualifier in Dushanbe.
There have been more than 20 deaths in the Central Asian country over the last few days following separate attacks involving militant groups and local police.
Ange Postecoglou’s side arrived to relative calm on Saturday and have gone about business as usual as they look to make it three wins from three on Tuesday night.
“I don’t think it’s a big issue for the players. I think we’re a little bit protected,” Burns told reporters in Dushanbe.
“We’re in a bubble or maybe we’re just a little bit naïve. We’re just strictly business.
‘We have professional staff, people that come over and suss out the hotel and things like that. For us we’re very confident every time and we just get on with business.”
And that means preparing feverishly for what will be a feisty opponent, roared on by a hostile home crowd.
While the Socceroos are expected to have little trouble disposing of the 158th-ranked Tajiks, Burns is well aware these types of games have their dangers.
“We’ve seen how hard some of these games are. Kyrgyzstan was really hard,” he said of the narrow 2-1 win in June.
“If we weren’t prepared and gave 100 percent commitment into that game we probably wouldn’t have walked away with the three points.
“But those little one percenters that the country’s invested into Australian football and the national team really gets those results.”
The FC Tokyo attacker heads into Tuesday’s clash in a confident mood, having scored his first international goal in the 5-0 drubbing of Bangladesh.
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Burns is now a regular member of Postecoglou’s squad and a key component of the national team’s attacking arsenal.
Yeah I feel part of the squad but with the national team you can never be fully secure,” said Burns when asked if he feels he now belongs at this level.
“We have that standard where no player is comfortable here and that’s why we’ve been so successful.
“Everyone needs to keep pushing each other. We have so many good players now coming through the system, especially in my position up front.“Whoever’s in good form will come into camp and that’s the pressure I have from the coach and the players that I have to keep performing.”