Australia coach Ange Postecoglou admitted a sense of pride at the Socceroos’ performance in Friday’s loss to England, marvelling at some of the football they produced at the Stadium of Light.
The Socceroos dominated large periods of the contest – especially in the first half – but were punished for a couple of defensive lapses in the 2-1 defeat against the Euro 2016 hopefuls.
Speaking to Fox Sports at full-time, Postecoglou felt fatigue cost Australia but was beaming at the way his side approached the task against Roy Hodgson’s men.
“I’d be frustrated if we didn’t try and play our football but we did so I have tremendous pride,” Postecoglou said.
“Some of our boys, guys like Aaron Mooy, Joshy Risdon, Jamie Maclaren haven’t played in a month and it told in the end.
“We just lacked that little bit of the ability to keep repeating our efforts. But our football was outstanding in the first half and parts of the second half.
“It got a bit disrupted with all the substitutions but if we play football like that there won’t be any frustration from me.”
England young gun Marcus Rashford scored inside three minutes on his debut as the Socceroos were caught cold but it did not affect the visitor’s confidence.
Mooy, Tom Rogic and captain Mile Jedinak controlled the match in the middle of the park in Australia’s new 4-4-2 formation as their possession play took over.
“It’s easy for me to talk about the football we want to play but it’s the players who are the brave ones. They’re the ones that have to go out and do it against high quality opposition,” Postecoglou continued.
“We conceded a soft goal at the start out of nowhere and that could have put us back on our heels but, I love the football we play.
“We’ll get better, there’s still moments we need to be more switched on but overall it was a real positive exercise for us.”
Substitute Wayne Rooney doubled England’s lead early in the second half before a late Eric Dier own goal – from debutant Milos Degenek’s cross – gave the Socceroos hope of snatching a draw.
It was not to be though with Postecoglou lamenting a lack of cutting edge in the front third in the absence of the likes of Tim Cahill, Mathew Leckie and Nathan Burns.
“It was Maclaren’s first game. We didn’t have massive expectations and he worked hard and got himself into some good positions,” Postecoglou said. “So did Robbie [Kruse], he probably should have scored and had a couple of good chances.
“We kind of knew that going into the game, we were a bit light up top and that’s why we went in with a new formation. But I thought Rogic, Mooy and the skipper [Jedinak] in the middle had outstanding performances.
“I know the boys will be disappointed we didn’t win the game tonight…that’s a sign and a measure of where the belief is from our perspective,” he added.