Socceroos have won Asia's respect, says Jedinak

Australia captain Mile Jedinak believes Asia is treating the Socceroos team with greater respect since they became continental kings in 2015.

Mile jedinak

Mile Jedinak will lead the Socceroos against Thailand Source: AFP

Jedinak, who will lead the side in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Thailand at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok on Tuesday, said he could feel different vibes from the way teams approach his team.

The Socceroos, who are two points behind leaders Saudi Arabia in qualifying Group B, are raging hot favourites to overwhelm the pointless Thais at the halfway mark of their campaign to reach the finals in Russia.

"I don't know whether it's when we won the Asian Cup or a bit before that in the World Cup but they do seem to have a greater respect for us," Jedinak said at the team's plush hotel in downtown Bangkok.

"We play in a certain way and it is clear for everyone to see what our opponents try to do and how they judge and value that.

"From what we've seen from teams that have come up against us they've taken note of our stature and given us the respect for that.

"In saying that, I think the test is always 'are we able to back it up, are we able to go again and do it abroad in all sorts of conditions not just in Australia'.

"That's probably the biggest thing: doing it away from home when we need to, like this match against Thailand. You get a better indication of how teams are going to set up and how they feel about you when you are in their own backyard.

"All teams playing at home feel comfortable and that they belong so these away games you'll see how much they expect and value what we are doing with the national team."

Jedinak, who plays his club football for Aston Villa in the English Championship, said he was interested to learn that the Thai players have been offered a considerable cash bonus as an incentive to beat the Australians.

"I heard about this. After what we have achieved as a team you are always going to come up against teams with an extra motivation, anyway. It's only natural," Jedinak said.

"You also have to think about what's at stake. This is the World Cup qualification with three points to play for. I really don't know if you need any incentive to win. I don't know. For me, you don't.

"We as a group understand that it does not always work like that, particularly in Australia. Other teams have different levels of motivation."

Australia have conceded early goals in their most recent qualifiers against Saudi Arabia in Riyadh and Japan in Melbourne.

In both cases the Socceroos had to work hard to salvage 2-2 and 1-1 draws that relegated them to second in the group.

The Socceroos are expected to pound the Thais early in a bid to establish an early supremacy and insure themselves against any surprises.

"It would be nice to get an early goal ourselves rather than concede one, that's for sure," Jedinak said.

"It's always nice to settle everyone down, particularly tomorrow night. If we don't get it (early goal) tomorrow it will be a matter of applying the pressure and making the game as smooth as possible because more than likely the goal will come.

"But having that discipline and concentration to maintain that is easer said than done.

"There's always going to be moments in the game when you're under pressure so we have to be mindful of that and exploit them in another way."

Jedinak would not go as far as to say that the Thailand game could become a classic banana skin but he warned of the difficult time Holger Osieck's Socceroos had to endure the last time they played in Bangkok in a World Cup qualifier in 2011.

Jedinak played in the game that the Socceroos won 1-0 with a late goal from Brett Holman.

"I'm not sure about the easy match bit to start with," he said.

"The group and points tally might tell you that but you can never underestimate the Thais. We've played here before and the last time was a very difficult game.

"Knowing from experience, these games are never easy and can be quite tricky.

"So we won't underestimate the Thais. We make our due diligence on every team and it has been no different this time."

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4 min read
Published 14 November 2016 at 3:34pm
By Philip Micallef in Bangkok
Source: SBS