Ben Gilby reports on Australia head coach Tony Gustavsson‘s media conference today as he reflected on Saturday’s superb win against Sweden and laid down his expectations ahead of tomorrow’s game with Thailand. Plus Kris Goman‘s EXCLUSIVE photos from today’s training session in Gosford (14/11/22).
Above: Tony Gustavsson speaking today from Gosford. Image: Football Australia.
Matildas’ boss Tony Gustavsson is thrilled by the fact that his players and coaching staff can see the fruits of almost two years of hard work at last.
“I said in the circle (huddle) after the Sweden game that I thanked them for their belief and patience in the process that I put in place. It’s been a tough journey that we’ve been on and we needed to grow depth in the roster and bring more young players in. We needed to play more European teams, against top opposition. To do all that at the same time is tough, mentally.
“The players were really happy in their performance against Sweden as they felt as if things were (finally) coming together. I had that feeling earlier. We saw it for 45 minutes against Canada. We saw it in the October (international) window, now we saw it against Sweden.”Tony Gustavsson, Australia head coach.
The transition from the first match of an international window to the second is rapid, and the Matildas head coach outlined the realities of that.
“It was a very good feeling after the game (on Saturday). Yesterday was a travel day (from Melbourne to Gosford) and today is preparation for a new game. The challenge is, can we get our mindset right for tomorrow?”
Thailand are familiar opposition, and whilst they are a team that Australia will be expected to beat comfortably, they have a reputation of being stubborn and tough to break down.
“We can’t be complacent against them. If we look at the last three times we played them, in 2018, it was a tie at half-time. When we played them in 2020 it was 0-0 until the 44th minute, and this year in the Asian Cup it was 0-0 until the 39th minute. We struggled to get it going in all three of those games. Tomorrow we want to get on the front foot from the start, That’s the challenge.”
That challenge is one Gustavsson is determined that his team meet from the opening whistle.
“I would love to see us flying from the beginning tomorrow with that mindset that we had against Sweden, with our transitions and runs. The danger is when you play a team like Thailand who give you less space, is that you stop running. We are a running team, and we need to run tomorrow.
“The number one key is to be patient. Not patient as being slow, but to keep confident that the goals will come. We know they are going to be organised. It’s difficult to make those clear-cut chances.
There was some positive news on the injury front as the Australia boss gave hope to those longing to see Alex Chidiac reprise her influential midfield role from the October matches against South Africa and Denmark.
“She fully trained today, and we will evaluate her tonight in terms of whether she is available, and if she is, how many minutes she could play. Alanna (Kennedy) is getting better each day. She had her first training session today which was fantastic. She is not available for game time, but we’re grateful to Manchester City for allowing her to come.”
More of Kris Goman’s EXCLUSIVE photos from training in Gosford today: