October 16, 2013 – 8:04AM
Australia’s Rhys Williams (C) rises above Canada’s Iain Hume (L) and Tostaint Ricketts (R). Photo: Reuters
Socceroos captain Lucas Neill has refused to back down from his controversial comments questioning the passion of the team’s younger members, saying he had successfully fired the players up for their 3-0 win over Canada.
“Things were down because you lose six-nil, six-nil, that hurts. Any sportsman will tell you it hurts to lose,” he said.
“To react in the way we have, it was just what we wanted. We have got some confidence back and now we can build on it.
“I’m not going to regret asking the team to show passion, to show spirit. That’s what Australia is all about, any sport we play in.”
He said it had been a deliberate move on his part, and acting coach Aurelio Vidmar, to challenge the players.
“We were deliberate in what we said, that we needed to see some spirit, and we got it tonight. I can’t stop other people saying what they say.”
He was also happy with his own performance, after criticism and some calls for him to retire.
“I’ve been in this game a long time. When the team loses you can’t pin the blame on just Lucas Neill, and when the team wins, Lucas Neill doesn’t take the credit. This is a team game, we lost together, we win together, it’s not about Lucas Neill, it’s it’s not about one individual, it’s always been about the Socceroos.”
He said he didn’t notice jeers from the crowd.
“I heard noise. You always do from the crowd. You can only play what’s in front of you.
“We’re delighted to walk away with a four-zero victory. Three, sorry.”
He said he was proud to captain his country for 60 games.
“It was a proud personal moment and I hope I get the chance to go beyond.”
After the game a subdued Vidmar said he had asked for a positive reaction from the team after a “pretty tough week”.
“A lot of players took it hard,” he said. “It took a couple of days … The reaction was excellent tonight.”
The Sydney Morning Herald