Milligan: Mentality essential to Socceroos success
Socceroos captain Mark Milligan has commended the proactive and composed approach which set the platform for Friday’s surgical 3-0 win over Palestine.
Jamie Maclaren and Awer Mabil struck inside the opening 20 minutes at Rashid Stadium before Apostolos Giannou iced a result that corrected Australia’s course at AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™.
The dominant display came as a welcome response to last weekend’s defeat to Jordan with Milligan, who made a game-high 97 passes, particularly encouraged by his side’s understanding of what was required.
“We worked on different ways to break them down but I think the most important thing was our mentality,” Milligan told socceroos.com.au.
“We were a little bit more patient and we kept moving the ball quickly.
“We wanted to make sure we picked our moments to go forward, we wanted to make sure we hit our rotations and timings.
“We know what it’s like when you don’t have the ball – it can be very tough. It’s always going to be hard to sustain.
“I think from the very beginning our intent was positive and we caused them problems.
“We wanted to make sure we kept them moving and we got an early goal which was very important as well.”
Arnold’s men can seal qualification for the knockout rounds with another three points against Syria on Tuesday.
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The Asian Football Confederation’s sixth-ranked side is a familiar opponent for Australia, the two nations having squared off in the fourth round of FIFA World Cup qualifying in October 2017.
Milligan is aware of Syria’s potential to pose problems but encouraged his team-mates to again assert themselves on another key encounter.
“They’ve got some quality in their team and we just need to make sure we control things from early on,” the versatile veteran said.
“This group is still very tight and obviously with the best third places going through as well, we’ve all got a lot to play for.
“We need to make sure we start on the front foot again and dominate from early on.”