Impetus’ Ben Gilby was in the post-match media conference for us and heard from both Australia head coach Tony Gustavsson and New Zealand counterpart Jitka Klimková (12/4/22).
Above: Australia head coach Tony Gustavsson saw positives and development points from his side in today’s game with New Zealand in Canberra. Photo: Football Australia.
Reflecting on how Australia played tonight, head coach Tony Gustavsson reflected: “We were mixed tonight. When we had speed of play, New Zealand couldn’t cope with our combination play and the way we were zipping the ball around. There were parts when we lacked concentration and New Zealand looked to catch us on the break and they could have scored one or two more goals. We need to learn from every moment. When we play fast we are difficult to stop.”
Gustavsson recognized that after her strong performance in Friday’s match, the Football Ferns were going to target reducing the threat of Katrina Gorry.
“I had a talk with ‘Mini’ (Gorry) about how they will have a plan to stop her. We too then had a plan to see how we could get her around that. She is so skilful that she can get away from pressure. She can turn on a dime. You saw that when she played in Mary (Fowler). She wasn’t as impactful as in the first game, but she still played well.”
The Matildas head coach insisted that there is clear progression in his side’s performances during this international window, but equally is aware there is still much to do.
“We internally have seen the progress and the journey for a while now even though result-wise that may not be obvious. We started to see good things in the first game with Brazil in 15-minute bursts and the last 30 minutes of the first half in the first game against the USA.
“We came into this camp saying we needed to believe in what we are doing and the process along with a cohesion and chemistry. The players have been patient with me as a coach with curveballs, rotations, and rosters I have thrown at them. Now we are narrowing it down with greater continuity. I think one of the reasons that we have seen better combination play during this camp is because we have more continuity in what we are doing.”Tony Gustavsson, Australia head coach.
“There’s also the addition of players with different profiles who have given us a different dimension in how we are playing.”
Asked by Impetus’ Ben Gilby about the reduced intensity from Australia in the second half, Gustavsson admitted: “I think there was a drop-off. I made changes at that point because I wanted players to come on with energy and with something to prove to me as a head coach.
“I do also think there was a second wave of drop-off (around the 70-minute mark) and that was a good opportunity to practice game management. New Zealand took over and that was us letting them have the ball. We need to prepare for a World Cup scenario protecting leads and trying to be flexible. We need to train on those aspects going forward.”
Australia’s Manchester City star Hayley Raso reflected on her superb goal when she spoke to the media after the match in Canberra.
“It’s always nice to get on the score sheet. We needed to be better in the final third. We’ve worked hard on that.
“We know that whoever plays combines well together. The cohesion is really there. We work on how to develop and get better and we can see how things are gelling now.”
Asked about whether going 3-0 up so early made it a challenge to keep a relentless attacking game going, Raso said: “For us, we try not to get ahead of ourselves. We wanted to come into the game and score goals. We got a few within a certain period, but that doesn’t stop what we want to do. We stay calm, play our football and continue to push.”
Impetus also understands that Cortnee Vine missed the game today after pulling her groin. It is not thought to be a groin strain, but the Matildas wanted to reduce any risk of more serious injury.
New Zealand head coach Jitka Klimková was philosophical about her team’s performance in Canberra against Australia, insisting that there were positives to take.
“Australia put their strongest 11 out and played for a win from the start. This time they put their chances in the goal and that was the difference between the first and second games. I did see positives though.
“We switched our way of defending. We pushed them high and got close to causing trouble. Our high press caused them problems, we need to be consistent now as to how we win the ball further up the field.”
“We wanted to put the pressure on the ball as soon as possible, making them have possession further back on the pitch. We wanted to keep how we defended on Friday in the same way. We wanted to be more aggressive with our squeeze and put pressure on the ball earlier and that is something that we need to do better.Jitka Klimková, New Zealand head coach.
“The last 20 minutes saw how we really want to play – trusting each other. Not just possession for possession sake, but looking to break the line and score some goals ourselves. Stotty showed how good she is with the ball today as well. She will help us in future to get more control.”
Despite these aims, Klimková’s side found it hard to compete with the Matildas in the first half. New Zealand’s head coach believed that ultimately it was more about how good the hosts were than any weakness in her own side.
“Huge credit to Australia for how they played. The first half was incredible football from them.”
Key attacker Paige Satchell had to leave the pitch in the early stages with what appeared to be breathing problems. The Football Ferns head coach detailed the issue.
“We know that she has some challenges with her heart, so just in case, we wanted to have things under control. It was the right decision to take her off the field. The medical team will work with her to get things right and I am confident that she will be with us in the next international window.”
Klimková was pressed by the New Zealand media about her decision to take Victoria Esson out of the starting line-up despite her outstanding performance in the first game against Australia on Friday, and it is not the first time such a move has occurred.
“We are still in this development of our team phase. We want to have more players ready. That was the reason that Erin (Naylor) got the chance today. She has made good performances for her club and did well at training. It was a simple decision for her to play today and I thought she did a good job.”
The Football Ferns head coach, overall was pleased with what she saw from her team over the matches.
“I definitely got what I wanted out of these two games. We were aiming to build connections on the field. Result wise it was not what we wanted. The first game was so close, but we know we need to be better with our game management and we have to learn those lessons. The players will remember and will be smarter.