New Caltex Socceroos Bert van Marwijk has given an insight on how he wants his Australian side to play, drawing on the tactics of Pep Guardiola’s EPL leading Manchester City.
While van Marwijk concedes “it won’t be easy” to get out of a tricky group – featuring France, Denmark and Peru - at June’s FIFA World Cup, he could have a playing style which could make it happen.
The 65-year-old said one of his biggest challenges will be getting the side playing in a way that gives them a chance to win matches but declared he’ll do whatever it takes to be successful.
Using the example of EPL giants Manchester City, van Marwijk said a “modern” style will be how he’ll set up this Australian team.
“Maybe we don’t have the best players but we can be the best team. When you have good team, the players know what to do, they trust each other and they trust us [coaching staff], and you play in a modern way,” van Marwijk said.
“I’m a coach that likes to have the ball and likes to play combination football. Then you have influence on the game.
“But in modern football you also have to have influence on the game when you don’t have the ball. That’s very important. In modern football it’s only about transition.
“100 years ago the pitch was the same size as now. But the players are bigger, faster and stronger. The food is better, the tactics are better.
“But the pitch is the same size. So it’s all about space.
“For example Manchester city may be the best team in the world this moment. Every game they always have the most ball possession, but they score most of their goals in transition. That’s very interesting.”
Van Marwijk was appointed as the coach to lead Australia to the FIFA World Cu, taking the reins from Ange Postecoglou who quit after qualifying the Caltex Socceroos via the play-offs.
The new boss said there was nothing wrong with the philosophy of his predecessor but is adamant he’ll do things “his way”.
"I have respect for the former coach, (but) I do it in my way," van Marwijk said.
"I go to the World Cup with only one thing that counts, (and that's) to survive the first round.
"I think it's important that we play in a way that fits the players and also the coach. You cannot play in a way the players cannot do, and when they don't like to play in a way you want to play, then you make a mistake."
Van Marwijk will begin assessing players immediately and will take in three Hyundai A-League clashes this weekend.
He’ll take charge of his first matches as coach when the Caltex Socceroos play friendlies against Norway and Colombia next month.