Mooy relishing the pressure in Honduras hothouse

Socceroos midfielder Aaron Mooy is getting used to playing in front of packed Premier League houses, but admits the atmosphere will be "something different" when Australia step into the cauldron of San Pedro Sula's Stadio Olimpicio Metropolitano to face Honduras next Saturday.

Aaron Mooy

Aaron Mooy Source: Getty Images

A human tide of hostility awaits the Socceroos at the 40,000 capacity arena, which most recently bore witness to a 3-2 victory over Mexico which sealed Honduras' World Cup playoff spot against Australia.

And even Mooy's trademark unflappability might be tested in an atmosphere far removed from an away trip to Burnley, Crystal Palace or even the cathedral of Anfield.

"I'm not sure what to expect ... but I think it will be a little different to honest to what I've experienced so far," said the Huddersfield Town mainstay.


"Either way, it will be a big experience and hopefully I'll be involved.

"The pressure will high, and these are the important games you want to be involved in.

"The bigger the match, the more the pressure but these are the occasions to remember.

"I've learned that you have to enjoy and embrace pressure, otherwise it can wear you down, and sap your energy.

"You need to just enjoy the moment."

Controversially left out of Australia's 2-1 extra-time win over Syria last month, Mooy came in to boss the show after an 11th minute injury to Brad Smith.

He felt his post-match reaction of "anger" at being omitted was blown out of proportion, and has quickly moved on from the episode.

The speculation over the future of coach Ange Postecoglou also leaves him unmoved, with Mooy not buying into any possible distractions ahead of the two legged showdown, with the return in Sydney on Wednesday week.

"Personally it's about just getting on with the football. All the other stuff doesn't matter majorly to us," he said.

"We're just focusing on those two matches ... it's all we're thinking about.

"It's a small advantage having the second leg at home and if we get a good result in the first match it will set us up really nicely.

"We know how difficult it's going to be but we believe we're going to be there (in Russia next year).

"We have a good bunch of boys and we'll give everything we have.

"We're all ready to get the job done."

While Mooy won't quickly forget his goal and performance in defeating Manchester United 2-1 two weeks back, the euphoria quickly gave way to disappointment as the Terriers were trounced 3-0 by Liverpool last weekend.

"It was one of the good days but you can't enjoy them too long," he said.

"The games come fast. We had a bad day against Liverpool. We tried to just sit deep and frustrate them. 

"It worked quite well in the first half and then they got the first goal and they just pushed on from there.

"It was frustrating because we were defending for the majority of the game. 

"For me, I like to get on the ball and attack and didn't really have many opportunities to do that. 

"Last season we were dominating possession in a lot of games.

"But you have to except that sometimes we play against better sides and it's they who dictate possession.

"We've got West Bromwich Albion at home on Saturday and that should be a good game."

When pressed on his experience in outdoing Jose Mourinho's Red Devils, Mooy added: "It was one of those things you dream of as a kid, and was a big moment for the club also.

"I think against West Brom you will see us going for it much more than perhaps we did against Liverpool and Manchester United.

"We want to win ... it's a big one for us. These are the games they call six pointers."

Reflecting on an impressive start to life in the Premier League, Mooy added: 

"Personally, I'm learning as I go and just trying to enjoy it because you don't know when it will be the last time you play at this level.

"I've always dreamed of playing in the EPL and I'm just trying to soak up as much as I can, and just take it all in."

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4 min read
Published 3 November 2017 at 6:29pm
By Dave Lewis