Ange Postecoglou is set to keep his players ‘on edge and guessing’ throughout his tenure as Australia’s national team embarks on a new era.
Postecoglou took charge of training for the first time in Sydney this week ahead of the friendly against Costa Rica on Tuesday.
The future of captain Lucas Neill and several other established players is the subject of considerable interest among supporters and the media alike, with one reporter on Wednesday commenting on an edgy atmosphere among the players.
“I like that,” Postecoglou said.
“There’s a bit of uncertainty there and maybe I encourage that. Maybe I sort of cultivate that as well. It keeps people on their toes. I like to keep people on their toes. They won’t get all the answers (in) this camp.”
Postecoglou has made it clear that no players will receive preferential treatment, reiterating that he has not discussed Neill’s situation at any length, and will wait for the 35-year-old and others to prove themselves on the pitch.
“All I’ve got to go by is training,” he said.
“I haven’t had any long conversation with any of the players. I spoke to them as a group for the first time this morning. The message was pretty clear. I really want to be surrounded by driven people, ambitious people with the same sort of mindset as I have. That’ll be reflected in actions as much as words.
“It’s not an entitlement, it’s an absolute privilege (playing for Australia) and something you need to continually strive for and not take it for granted. I plan to create an environment that hopefully has the players on edge for the whole journey.”
As for the match against Costa Rica at Allianz Stadium, the objective for Postecoglou and his coaching staff is simple.
“We start with winning and we work backwards,” he said.
“We want to achieve a lot of things, but there’s a game there and it’s a game to be won. They’re going to be a tough opponent, they’ve already qualified for the World Cup, we’re going to have to be able to compete against teams like that in six to eight months’ time.
“So we’re certainly going to go out there, try and play our style of football and … I’m confident we’ll see some foundations laid and certainly the message will be to go out there and try to win a game of football on our home ground.”