Brillante insists Olyroos will play on the front foot

Midfielder Josh Brillante said the Olyroos were going to do it their way with a positive approach at the AFC Under-23 Championship and not simply wait to try to pick up opportunities on the counter-attack.


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But they anticipate the other three teams in their group, UAE, Vietnam and Jordan, will be relatively conservative and look to get the Aussies on the break and that the Olyroos will have to be ready to spring back and cover.

The Olyroos play their first game, against UAE, in Doha in the early hours of Friday morning. Games against Vietnam, on Sunday, and Jordan will follow.


The top two teams from each of the four groups in the 16-team tournament advance from there to the knockout stage. The two finalists and the winners of the playoff for third place will qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.

Brillante, who plays for Como in Italy's Serie B, said the Olyroos had developed an attack-minded style of play under coach Aurelio Vidmar leading up to this tournament and had every faith in that approach.

"We always play the 4-3-3 formation and I believe that's what we'll do again now we're here," Brillante said.

"We're not going to change the way we want to play to suit other teams, we're going to concentrate on how we want to play and stick with that.

"It's an attack-minded formation and style of play that we use. We've got a very strong squad and we're very confident about each other and the team. Now it just comes down to the game-day and getting it right and working together.

"We have a lot of young players in the team, but they're all quality players and they've been stepping up to the plate, which is good to see.

"We've got a good group from the A-League who have been performing very well and scoring goals and some overseas players with a bit more experience who have been playing good football as well."

Brillante said the players and coaching staff believed the Olyroos were good enough to try to dictate games, rather than be dictated to.

"We want the ball as much as we can in the game," he said. "When we have the ball it makes them do all the chasing. We'll be aiming to play good football, attacking football, that's what we want. We've got the players who are good enough to do that.

"There's a great belief here in each other and the team. We've had a few camps now and we've gone through the process and done a lot of work on how we want to play and what we think we should be doing as a team, so I don't think we're going to be changing that at the last minute.
"The boys all know each other pretty well and we've got a good group of people within the squad and I think that will help us as well."

Brillante said the players knew enough about their group-stage opponents to anticipate how they would play and that the Olyroos knew they were going to have to work very hard and be prepared to do a lot of running to be successful.

"We've played some of these teams in lead-up tournaments," he said. "And we've looked at the styles of all these teams from Asia that we could be facing at some stage.

"We're expecting our opponents in the group games to sit back and defend and try to get us on the counter-attack and we've got to be prepared for that. We'll keep playing our kind of football, but we've got to be ready for them to try come back at us quickly.

"If we're going to play the way we want to play, we've got to have belief in ourselves and we do have that. The coaching staff have that belief in us as well and they're telling us this is the way they want us to play, so that's what we're going to do and we're going to do it with confidence."

Brillante said that if the Olyroos made it out of the group stage they would weigh up their next opponents and be prepared to make tactical adjustments if necessary, but that the basic plan wouldn't change.

"If we get past the group stage we'll need to re-assess our game and look at what the opposition have been doing, but we'll still have a general plan of how we want to play and not worry too much about how they're going to play," he said. "We'll focus on what we're going to do."

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4 min read
Published 13 January 2016 at 11:34am
By Greg Prichard