Graham Arnold insists that ‘pressure is just a word’ as AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ gets underway

With the Caltex Socceroos about to begin their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ campaign, coach Graham Arnold has insisted that “pressure is just a word” ahead of the opening clash against Jordan at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain.

Australia goes into the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™ as reigning champions, having won the tournament four years ago on home soil, but Arnold is adamant that his side is looking forward and not reflecting on what has gone before.

“In four years many things change. [Winning the tournament in 2015] is a great memory, but we’re totally focused on what is in front of us.

“We look forward to the game against Jordan. For the players and myself it’s time to get the show started.

“Everyone’s been talking about it for a long time, and preparing for it, and it’s here. We’re ready.

Featured image credit: Asian Football Confederation

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“We’ve scouted and watched their games since Vital Borkelmans has been their coach. We know their strengths, we know their weaknesses.

“We expect to exploit their weaknesses and nullify their strengths. We go in expecting to win this game well.

“The boys have got so much energy. We believe in ourselves and in what we are doing.

“It’s not arrogance, it’s belief.”

Arnold is excited by the bright young squad at his disposal in the UAE, adding: “Pressure is just a word. We have the utmost belief and confidence in what we are doing.

“Yes, Mile Jedinak, Timmy Cahill and ex-players have moved on. This is football. We have great depth in our squad. New players come in, young players. Young players add energy, enthusiasm.”

Supporting cast

The coach is unfazed by anticipated strong support for Jordan in Al Ain on Sunday evening (kick-off 10:00pm AEDT).

"One thing we need to remember is that all of our players play in countries around Europe and they play away from home in front of big away crowds.,” he said. “They’re used to it.

"It's a beautiful stadium, it's a big stadium, a fantastic pitch. Yes, the Jordanian fans can scream and roar but they can't affect the result.

“We have a huge amount of support back at home and we will do them proud.”