Football 3 years ago

Socceroos to thrive under pressure: Luongo

  • Socceroos to thrive under pressure: Luongo

Midfielder Massimo Luongo believes the Socceroos will thrive under pressure in their crunch World Cup qualifiers with Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh.

Australia's shock 2-0 loss at the hands of qualifying group leaders Jordan last month has stripped the safety net from underneath coach Ange Postecoglou's team.

They will have to win both Thursday's fixture against Kyrgyzstan and next Tuesday's away to Bangladesh for a chance to top their group and guarantee automatic progression to the final phase of qualifying for Russia 2018.

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Luongo thought the team may have been a little too relaxed against Jordan, but said he can feel a sharper edge in camp a day out from the first clash at GIO Stadium.

"It builds the pressure up a little bit, but I think as a squad we're quite good with dealing with the pressure," Luongo said.

"I think we play better under pressure.

"We were probably in the comfort zone a little bit leading up to Jordan, so that could have been a slight excuse.

"But I think everyone has had a little wake-up call, and we're out to prove a point again."

Luongo didn't play in Australia's opening fixture against Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek, withdrawing before camp with an ankle injury.

But the Queens Park Rangers midfielder has been a vital piece of Postecoglou's armour since then, starting in September's victories over Bangladesh and Tajikistan along with October's Jordan defeat.

He said this time Australia have got 124th-ranked Kyrgyzstan figured out.

"I didn't play the first game, but from just watching the videos their counter-attack is quite dangerous," Luongo said.

"They've got some players up front who will just naturally be in good positions and can threaten us if we lose the ball or give away cheap possession.

"When we do have possession we need to hurt them."

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