The unflappable resolve that drives Postecoglou

Ange Postecoglou has revealed the bloodyminded approach that has made him the most successful Socceroos coach in Australian football history.


Ange Postecoglou won't let hiccups derail his ultimate goals Source: AAP

And it has little to do with his players.

It's all to do with a relentless pursuit of his goals and not letting the speed humps affect the momentum of his drive towards success.

"Coaching is never plain-sailing and no coaching job is without challenges and obstacles," Postecoglou said before he announced the Socceroos squad for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Iraq and United Arab Emirates.

"I just tend to focus on what the intent of the role was for me.

"It was not just to be the national team coach or this burning desire to coach my country although it is a massive honour.

"It was obviously an opportunity to get our team to play in a certain way, to have success and rebuild the team.

"When you go into it with that mindset you might not notice the challenges that might arise as you go along but because you are so focused on the end goal you don't let the problems become very prominent and you find ways to get around them and in the most part I think we've done that.

"You can't lose sight of the bottom line.

"You can so easily get side-tracked and for us in the first 14 months of us getting together we had a clear objective which was winning the AFC Asian Cup.

"So in the first 14 months, including the World Cup, everything was about that.

"And for the following 14 months it was all about getting a squad ready for our bid to reach the 2018 World Cup.

"Every decision we have made along the way was about reaching our objectives.

"If along the way you have a bad performance or a bad result you have to remember that there are many other things we are getting right.

"If you go away from your goal just to solve a little problem that alleviates the pressure you don't get to where you want to. That's me and the way I coach."

Postecoglou said he was pleased with the progress his Socceroos team has made since he took over in October 2013 but he believes that one of the biggest obstacles he has yet to overcome is the level of inferiority complex that still governs our game at many levels.

He must have thought that the Asian Cup triumph in early 2015 would remove the doubts within many sceptical fans.

It has not panned to that way and he concedes that there is still some work to be done in this area.

"I think it's a work in progress," he said.

"I've been pretty adamant about this particularly in recent times.

"The way we perceive ourselves is far more important than the way others perceive us.

"If ever we are going to grow into a nation that becomes a power in the world game and perhaps achieve the long-term goal of winning the World Cup, we should stop thinking we are second best or have some limitations.

"My belief is that we should not have any inferiority complex about anything we do in terms of football.

"I don't have that about myself and nor do the players so it's a matter of the whole football community coming together.

"It's scary because once you put yourself out there and say we want to be a team that dominates and wins things you leave yourself exposed if you fall short.

"But I also believe that unless we get to that point we are never going to achieve what we want to.

"I think we are as far along the track as I want us to be, but others do not think we are."

Postecoglou came up with an interesting observation in the aftermath of a 2-1 defeat to England in Sunderland in May.

He claimed after the game that the Australian media generally did not give enough credit to the Socceroos' best players who did as well as their English counterparts mainly because they did not play for high-profile clubs.

Postecoglou said this attitude was another example of Australia's inferiority complex when asked to expand on his comments that raised several eyebrows.

"My thing, again, is the perception we have of ourselves and our players," Postecoglou explained.

"My thoughts after that England game were that I did not see a lot of difference between our three midfielders Aaron Mooy, Massimo Luongo and Tom Rogic and the England midfield except in where they play their club football.

"Yet we do not build our players and give them the same status as others because of where they play.

"The idea is 'If they play in the English Championship how good can they really be'

"We should forget where they are playing and judge them as players.

"But I also said our players do not cop enough scrutiny either so I guess this goes both ways.

"I'm not saying the media need to be cheer leaders but let's critically analyse our players the same way other players are scrutinised.

"I said last year Mooy was the best player in the A-League. I was not scared to say that. It was my opinion and it doesn't mean I was right or wrong.

"No one else was prepared to say that at the time perhaps because he is Australian. Some might have said Bruno Fornaroli, Besart Berisha or Thomas Broich was better.

"He's gone to the Championship and everybody's saying what a great player he is. But we knew that here.

"By the same token, I've seen players play a poor game and the media has not gone as hard as they should. It is all about preparing our players for what is going to happen if they go overseas.

"In the A-League some players have been able to hide but if you have a poor game with a European club there is nowhere to hide.

"A better analysis of their games is better for them and for our game."

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6 min read
Published 17 August 2016 at 2:23pm
By Philip Micallef
Source: SBS