The Socceroos may have a few issues heading into the Asian Cup but ones that can be easily fixed, according to defender Alex Wilkinson.
Tuesday night’s 2-1 defeat to Japan in Osaka was Australia’s eighth defeat of a disappointing 2014 in their last competitive hit-out before January’s tournament.
Both the home side’s goals came after Ange Postecoglou’s side had dominated the highly-rated Japanese outfit in the first half, only to be punished for switching off at set pieces.
It’s left serious questions about the Socceroos ability to lift their game in time for the Asian Cup.
“It’s really disappointing as we spent (the day before the game) working on set pieces,” Wilkinson said.
“The first one someone’s completely free on the back post which is pretty unforgiveable. The second ones come across, I’ve gone out and he’s got past me too easy and I’ve had no cover….it should never have happened.
“On a positive side of things, set pieces are something that can be fixed easily but come Asian Cup time, we can’t afford to concede by set pieces.
“Games can be tight and decided on these sorts of things so we have to improve.”
Skipper Mile Jedinak was proud of his side’s effort, especially in the first 45 minutes, but conceded they could do little once Japan decided “to step up a gear”.
“We knew maybe they underestimated that slightly but you can’t take away how we performed in that first half,” the Crystal Palace midfielder said.
“The boys carried out the instructions and took it to them, it’s a shame we couldn’t do it for the full 90 and it’s a shame that two set pieces that did the damage.
“We pride ourselves on not conceding too many from set piece. It’s better that happened today than in two months’ time, now we can plan and rectify that as a group.”
Postecoglou opted to leave Tim Cahill out of the starting side, with Robbie Kruse, James Troisi and Mathew Leckie leading the attack.
While Cahill came off the bench to score another trademark header, Troisi was pleased with the way the trio combined and says it’s important the side has other option besides the country’s all-time leading scorer.
“There were a lot of positives, not so many clear cut chances but good passages of play,” Troisi said.
“It worked well and we’ll continue to progress and try and get better with that. We can’t just rely on (Cahill) all the time.
“We’ll go to our clubs but when we get back we’ll revise this match, take the positives out of it and try and get better as quickly as possible.”
Former Socceroo Matt McKay to retire at season's end
Brisbane Roar skipper and 59-time Caltex Socceroo Matt McKay has decided the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Season will be his last, bringing to an end his 18-year professional journey. McKay confirmed his retirement on Thursday, bringing down the curtain on a glittering career for
Aussies Abroad: Ryan’s Brighton in danger of relegation after Cardiff defeat
Maty Ryan’s Brighton & Hove Albion are perilously close to the relegation zone in the English Premier League after slumping to a 2-0 defeat at home against Cardiff City on Wednesday morning (AEST). There was little the Caltex Socceroos gloveman could do to keep out a goal in e
The Green & Gold gift for Mooy fan that went viral
The story of young American girl Bella’s passion for Socceroos midfielder Aaron Mooy made headlines at the start of this month when Mooy’s club, Huddersfield Town, kindly invited her and her Father to England to watch the Terriers play Leicester City in the Premier League. Be
Maty Ryan set for Brighton's huge Premier League tie with Cardiff City
Caltex Socceroos star Mathew Ryan is set to play in arguably the most important match of Brighton & Hove Albion’s English Premier League season to date, against Cardiff City on Wednesday morning (AEST). Ryan, 27, can help his team take a huge step away from the relegation zone