Slow start frustrates Socceroos coach
Photo Source: AAP
Coach Ange Postecoglou has demanded improvements from the Sooceroos side after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Japan in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier in Melbourne.
Australia were flat and impatient in the first half at Etihad Stadium and trailed 1-0 at halftime following Genki Haraguchi's early strike before skipper Mile Jedinak's 55th-minute penalty rescued a point.
The Asian champions were much improved after the restart but Postecoglosu cut a frustrated figure after the game as his team missed the chance to put distance between themselves and their rivals in the group table.
"We wasted 45 minutes of the game," he said.
"We were very poor in the first half and conceded a very soft goal.
"We just didn't show enough intent. We weren't mobile enough ... we weren't asking them a lot of questions defensively."
Postecoglou sprung a selection surprise by naming striker Apostolos Giannou, one of three changes in a new-look 4-4-2 line-up.
However, it failed to produce desired attacking effect but Postecoglou insisted it wasn't because of his tactical instructions.
"What we're trying to do is create a scenario where we've got multiple ways of breaking down an opposition," he said.
"The formation is one thing. More important to me is our movement and our intent."
Goalkeeper Mathew Ryan admitted the Socceroos again looked uncertain early on for the second successive match, having also trailed Saudi Arabia after five minutes in Jeddah last week before hitting back to draw 2-2.
"It was such a strange sensation. It's like none of us had personality out there," Ryan said.
"We took it to them a little bit more in the second half but without really creating those clear-cut opportunities that we wanted.
"I think if we had done that in the first half, we would have wore them down more and more.
"These two games, there's some little things creeping in ... conceding early goals and the way we conceded them, it's not good enough at this level and we're getting rightly punished.
"It's not in our DNA normally and we need to rectify that."
Jedinak said he was pleased with the fighting spirit shown by the side to salvage something from the game despite not being at their best.
"We got caught with a sucker punch trying to force things," he said.
"At half time we regrouped and it looked like only one team would win the game, it's unfortunate we didn't get that second goal.
"We go onto the next game and it's a crucial match against Thailand away."