Bert van Marwijk has his first win as Caltex Socceroos but insists there is still much to improve ahead of the FIFA World Cup after defeating the Czech Republic 4-0 on Friday.
Mathew Leckie scored a double while Andrew Nabbout grabbed his first international goal and an own goal rounded out the rout – yet there were two distinct points that van Marwijk wants to improve.
“You asked me the question a few days ago about the result and I gave the answer that we are working on playing in an organisation we think is best for the team and when you win it’s always better because it’s good for the confidence,” van Marwijk said in his post-game press conference.
“But you must not be too satisfied because we also made mistakes.”
In particular, van Marwijk highlighted the desire for his Caltex Socceroos to find better solutions to get playmaker Tom Rogic on the ball, addressing the issue at the half-time break – but the Dutchman also paid mention to the need to keep developing the style of play worked on so far in the pre-Russia training block.
“In the first 20 minutes we couldn’t find our free man – Rogic was free all the time but we didn’t have the right solution,” van Marwijk added.
“But we spoke about it at half time and sometimes we found the solution which is very important. In the end, I must say I am satisfied because we won 4-0 but we have a long way to go.
“As a team we must learn to play close to each other so you can influence the game when the opponent has the ball but you must not run back too much and sometimes in the first half we ran too much back while it wasn’t necessary.”
Here’s Bert van Marwijk’s views on the Caltex Socceroos’ win over the Czech Republic…
ON TRENT SAINSBURY
“I decided in my feeling that this was the best [for Sainsbury to be handed the captain’s armband]. He is the captain when Jedinak isn’t playing, but when Jedinak plays he is the captain.
“He is one of the best central defenders of Australia. He has the right personality, he coaches very well – you can hear that in the stadium – he coaches very well and he is a very good player.”
ON ANDREW NABBOUT
“I nominated him after I saw him play in Australia so I have an idea about him and now you see the goal and his movement – he’s fast, extremely strong and needs a goal so I think it’s very important for him.”
ON JOSH RISDON
“I was very happy with the performance of Risdon … his total performance, I knew in ball possession he can play as a fullback but defending he must become much stronger and he didn’t play for four or five weeks and had an individual schedule and he worked very hard every day and he deserved to play there. I see him improve every day.”
ON THE TWEAKS AT HALF TIME
“I told the players at half time if we build up on one side we want to create players around the ball. Normally when you have the ball you have to go wide but I think football changes and when you create a lot of players around the ball you have a better chance of winning it back if you lose it.
“And also you create space on the other side, so you have to play short passes and then change the side at the right moment.
“Rogic was always coming to that side but there are also moments when he had to make a different decision because there was so much space on the other side. He listened when he should have made his own decision, he should have had more influence on the game.”
ON THINGS TO IMPROVE
“We will keep working on what we’ve trained until now and we must improve in everything and you have to learn for this game. When you have an organisation of the opponent where you can find the free man, you have to find him. You have to play in a way that you can find him.
“Then you can make the difference. And also when you play close to each other when the opponent has ball possession, when you don’t want the opposition to play between the lines you have to stand close to each other but if the last line is too far back we have to improve these things.”
ON THE BATTLE FOR NO.9
“Every player gets the same chance and I’m happy Juric has kept fit for the last few days. He trained in full but before that he was injured for four or five weeks and he came into camp and couldn’t train, then he trained for one and a half days and then he couldn’t train any more. That was the moment I decided to bring Maclaren in the squad and I think Maclaren needs a chance which is also the reason Juric was not play. But I hope Juric keeps fit.”