We are playing to win: Verbeek

Socceroos Pim Verbeek has squashed any thoughts his team will play for a draw against Qatar in Doha on Saturday night.

Doha: Socceroos Pim Verbeek has squashed any thoughts his team will play for a draw against Qatar in Doha on Saturday night.

Having put the squad through two testing closed sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, which focused a lot on attacking play, Verbeek declared his team will be going for the three points and getting qualified for the next phase.

“We go into the game to win,” he said emphatically, after a final light session on Thursday evening, before the team headed to Doha on Friday. “We know that will take us into the last round of qualifiers and I think you always start the game aiming to win.”

While indications are he will revert back to his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, he was giving nothing away in terms of his starting line-up.

He also dismissed suggestions in some quarters back in Australia that his tactics are too defensive and he needs to adopt a more attacking philosophy.

“I don't care what people in Australia think - they are sitting on the beach and surfing, when we are sitting here and it's 39C and we are sweating without doing anything.

“I simply care what my players feel and we feel, and how we can win the game.”

“It's easy to say, ‘Why don't you attack-. I think I know enough about football to make the best selection and the best team. That's my responsibility.

“I go for the results- if we have to go with five attacking players we do that, and if it has to be with one then we do that also. Football is all about results, you know that.”

Verbeek is however pleased with how his team has responded to the loss against Iraq and believes their attitude will bring them success on Saturday.

“Probably on the Sunday, yes,” he said, if they players were still disappointed after the loss against Iraq. “But they are all professional players; they know how to deal with games that you lose. It's part of football, and I think they have had very good sessions this week, so I don't foresee any problems with that.

“The boys, they did very well this week. The atmosphere is first class.”

Verbeek is not reading too much into the first game of this qualification series, which Australia won 3-0 in Melbourne and knows that his team will face a stern test at the Al Saad Club Stadium.

“It was four months ago, they have a new team and play differently,” he said. “They are better organised defensively, and there were three players who started against us who are not even in the squad any more.

“They have the striker Quintana, and they got the result 1-0 away in China, which we have to respect as that's a great three points for them.

“I saw all the games this week but the two against China were two totally different games. The home game was 35C; slow and very humid, while in China it was 22C and both teams were very energetic.

“They can play two totally different systems but we can prepare for both, we know what we have to do.”

“We knew it was probably the toughest group in qualification, and from the start there was always a chance it would be decided on the final game. Hopefully that's not the case; we'd like to finish it.”

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