SOCCEROOS star Massimo Luongo has admitted his side were too focussed on impressing their new manager Bert van Marwijk in their 4-1 loss against Norway, explaining a poor performance where they largely looked lost.
After returning to training following the heavy defeat in their first match under Van Marwijk, the Socceroos have turned their attentions to Tuesday morning’s (AEDT) clash with Colombia at Craven Cottage in London.
Luongo suggested that the players may have been guilty of taking their new boss’ orders too literally against the Scandinavian outfit, and stressed that the mistakes made were easily rectified.
“Things that we probably took too literally from the manager and we probably are trying to do things too much for the manager but things that are so easily corrected and we’ve looked at it and you can just change it like that,” Luongo said.
Meanwhile, striker Tomi Juric who, alongside Luongo, came off the bench late in the piece against Norway, added that he felt the Aussies understood their manager – perhaps even too well, with initiative needed to breed results under the new system.
“Bert’s intentions were for us to play a little bit direct, put on pressure and I think we understood that a little bit too well,” Juric said.
“I think that’s something we need to take a little bit of initiative in ourselves and in our game and I think that’s where you will notice an improvement.”
Fox Sports’ man on the ground Daniel Garb reported that the team held an extended debrief upon returning to training after the Norway calamity – which has been heavily criticized on home soil.
“A lengthy meeting took place after the game against Norway, and the players hope it will give them a clearer understanding of how to move forward best under Bert van Marwijk,” Garb told Fox Sports News.
Luongo’s comments help to explain the abjectly poor performance in Oslo, however with a clash against a Colombia side featuring stars such as James Rodriguez and Falcao looming, the side are under pressure to improve swiftly.
In his presser, Luongo also attempted to calm local concerns over the team, suggesting that patience is paramount.
“It’s hard for people looking from the outside, because you wake up whatever time in the morning to watch us and it’s not the most pleasing on the eye and stuff like that,” Luongo said.
“But I think just like any situation, when there’s a transition stage I think it needs a little bit of time and everyone to be a little bit patient and then we’ll get there. And we’re working really hard to get there and it looks positive, it feels positive.”
Juric echoed his national teammate’s sentiment, adding that the Aussies are focussed on improving heading into their clash with a Colombia side stacked with talent and headlined by the likes of James Rodriguez and Falcao.
“Obviously we’re a little bit disappointed in the result and we didn’t really turn out the way we would have liked it. Definitely not the start we wanted, but there’s a lot of things we can look forward to, a lot of things we can improve on and I think that’s the main factor we need to take into this next game,” the striker said.
On a day dominated by outrage surrounding Steve Smith and the Australian cricket team, naturally the Socceroos were prompted for comment regarding the disgrace of their fellow national sporting side.
While admittedly not an expert on the game, Juric did offer his opinion on the ball tampering scandal engulfing Australian cricket.
“I’m pretty sure they’re not proud of what they’ve done, and they have to take a look at themselves in the mirror and really assess where they’re at. I really couldn’t say too much more about it but it’s definitely not in the Australian spirit,” he said.
The Australians have two more days of training before tackling Colombia at the home of Fulham, Craven Cottage, on Tuesday morning at 2am AEDT – the game will be broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports.