Kuala Lumpur: Australia’s new head coach Graham Arnold will lead the Socceroos to defend their AFC Asian Cup title, believing that he can end their goalscoring woes on the back of an early exit from the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
Australia suffered defeats against France and Peru, and drew 1-1 with Peru, ending their Russia 2018 campaign at the bottom of Group C.
Replacing Bert van Marwijk immediately after the World Cup, Arnold anticipates a better performance now that he is at the helm for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup next January in the United Arab Emirates, revealing that he would first tackle the psychology of his players.
“A lot of it these days is about the mind and what the mind tells you,” said the former Sydney FC head coach.
“I think that’s the big improvement that you’ve seen in England. A lot of the top sides now use sports psychologists for the players; there’s a lot of negativity in social media around players and what they read. It can affect people.”
The 54-year-old former Socceroos international, remains confident of the Australian talent on the pitch saying: “I just think that there’s a lot of talk that we don’t score goals, I think we’ve got the players there, but then it’s about the belief and backing yourself and giving yourself the opportunity to make a big impact.”
Arnold, who witnessed Australia’s performance in Russia, further revealed that his charges would focus on a possession-based game.
“Maintaining possession and making the opposition work – obviously the ball never gets tired – is something that is shown especially with the bigger team, the higher teams, it’s a great tactic for them.”
Australia are in Group B at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 along with Jordan, Palestine and Syria. They open their campaign on January 6 against Jordan.
Source : Asian Football Confederation Website