Socceroo coach Ange Postecoglou has settled on his starting XI and hopes "the love" of a home crowd will lift his team to greater heights when they open the Asian Cup tomorrow night.
Postecoglou hinted there wouldn’t be any selection shocks at this late stage with all players fit and ready to go against Kuwait on Friday night at Melbourne’s Rectangular Stadium.
“Obviously I’ve got an idea of who – we’ve obviously got a session to get tonight [Thursday] and there’s always game day which sometimes throws up some curve balls, but I’ve a pretty clear idea of who’ll start tomorrow night.
“Certainly the majority of the starting XI will those who’ve been with us for the last 12 months and would be famililar with the system.
“But having said that training form and condition of the players comes into it.
"They're ready to go... and I’m confident the XI we put out tomorrow night will be good enough to get us off to a good start," he said.
With the last 12 months of tough road trips for friendlies and major tournaments behind them, Postecoglou is banking on the familiar sight of family, friends and a stadium packed with green and gold supporters will give the players an extra special boost.
“They are going to feel some love tomorrow night. And I’m hoping that takes them onto greater heights," said Postecoglou, who's from Melbourne himself.
"The fans have an important part to play and I can't wait for the players to walk out tomorrow night. I've no doubt a few will feel two or three feet taller, mind you some need it as we're a small side," he joked.
"But it'll take them to greater heights and I'm looking forward to seeing all the Aussie shirts and feeling a bit of love.
It's been a tough 12 months. We've been to Belgium, Japan, the Middle East and the UK.
"It's always nice to know the majority of the crowd are behind you."
But a win is what he wants and Postecoglou says he wants to win in style rather than ugly.
“Ultimately for us it’s really important that we get off to a good start.
“You win the first game, get some momentum and put some pressure on the rest of the group because that’s the first objective, to get out of the group.”
The coach was, however, dismissive of questions regarding low world rankings of not only the Socceroos but Asian nations generally.
“I’m bemused by them [world rankings]. We moved up [the rankings] by not playing.
“It’s not reflective of where some Asian nations, not just us, are.”
He added that he had no complaints regarding preparation and was ready to show Asia, Australia and the world what his Socceroos are all about.
"It’s the opening game of the tournament and they’ll [Kuwait] be just as excited as we are.
"And I'm looking forward to it too - I'm looking forward to a bit of love too!
"It's the first home international in my city. It's going to be special tomorrow night coaching in front of friends and family.
"And I'm really looking forward to seeing how the players embrace tomorrow night and show what they have learnt over the last 12 months."
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