'We won't take our foot off the gas': Degenek's Caltex Socceroos vow ahead of AFC Asian Cup
Milos Degenek says the Caltex Socceroos are only just getting started after their solid 5-0 win over Oman.
Graham Arnold’s troops warmed up for their opening clash against Jordan next week with another all-action, attacking display against Pim Verbeek’s men in Dubai.
The Caltex Socceroos imposed their high-intensity approach from the outset against an Oman team that has proven to be difficult to beat in recent times.
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And Degenek, who scored his first international goal in the rout, is adamant there will be no let-up from Australia as they approach their AFC Asian Cup title defence.
“I don’t think we’re going to take our foot off the gas. We’re going to try to press every team, try to go high, suffocate every team and play our game, don’t let any team get into their rhythm,” Degenek told Fox Sports post-match.
“We want to obviously implement our game and stick to our plan, and that’s going high, going fast, starting fast and trying to play 90 minutes like that.
“It’s not possible to press for 90 minutes but we’re going to do our best see what happens.”
The Caltex Socceroos set-up their win inside the first 24 minutes as Andrew Nabbout, Chris Ikonomidis and Awer Mabil all got on the scoresheet in a devastating opening.
Degenek, who has been in superb form for Serbian club Red Star Belgrade both domestically and in the UEFA Champions League, then scored his maiden international goal just before the hour mark.
He was first to react to Ikonomidis’ corner, producing a clever flicked finish into the far corner, describing his first goal in the green and gold as “really special”.
“I just tried to get something on it to flick it back post and see where it ended up and it ended up in the goal,” said Degenek when describing his goal.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling [to score]. Obviously my 20th game for the country, my first goal.
“Unbelievable feeling, especially leading up to the [AFC] Asian Cup, it gives me a lot of confidence. I hit the bar against Lebanon in Sydney and now I have scored, it feels good.”
The Caltex Socceroos open their AFC Asian Cup campaign next Sunday night against Jordan, with the match kicking off at 10pm AEDT.
Arnold’s troops will also face Palestine (Jan 11) and Syria (Jan 16) in the group stage.