Massimo Luongo believes pressure will bring out the best in the Socceroos against Kyrgyzstan on Thursday night after conceding the Aussies may have been in a comfort zone against Jordan last month.
The Socceroos will hope to get their Road to Russia 2018 back on track with a win in Thursday night’s FIFA World Cup qualifier against Kyrgyzstan in Canberra.
Defeat to Jordan last month - a 2-0 loss in Amman - has left no room for error in their final four games of this group stage.
And Luongo, player of the tournament at January's Asian Cup, can already feel a greater edge to this camp compared to the one before the Jordan game.
“[The loss to Jordan] builds the pressure up a little bit but as a squad we’re quite good at dealing with the pressure,” Luongo told reporters on Tuesday.
“I think we play better with the pressure. We were in a comfort zone a little bit leading up to Jordan so that could have been a slight excuse [for the result].
“Now everyone has had a bit of a wake-up call and we’re out to prove a point again.”
It’s a statement that applies not only to Ange Postecoglou’s side but to Luongo himself on a personal level.
The 23-year-old midfielder has seen a new manager come in at club side QPR, with the experienced Neil Warnock taking the reins from Chris Ramsay.
Warnock has only taken over in the last fortnight, with Luongo yet to see any game time under the new boss.
“It’s a different set up, a different kind of training and a little shift in the team obviously,” the 2015 Asian Cup Player of the Tournament said.
“It comes with the job. You go through a lot of managers especially in the championship. You just get on with it and keep doing what I’m doing.
“If he wants to pick me he can pick me. I’ll still do my own thing regardless if I’m doing it in training or in the games.
“If you’re doing well in training, if you’re playing well then you’re doing everything you can, which I’ve done,” he added.
Luongo says he hopes to use these next two qualifiers – including the Bangladesh game next week – to get some valuable minutes under his belt.
The ex-Tottenham and Swindon midfielder missed the qualifier against Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek through injury but is up to speed on what challenge lies ahead at GIO Stadium on Thursday.
“They are a lot similar to the other teams [in our group] in their counter attack is dangerous,” Luongo said.
“They have a few players up front who will naturally be in good positions and threaten us in one-on-ones if we lose the ball or give it away cheaply.
“When we do have possession we need to hurt them while we have it.”