Reid praises ‘clever’ tac­tics

Marlborough Express - - SPORT - LIAM HYSLOP

Win­ston Reid will never be some­one who gets car­ried away with one game.

While many have hailed both his, and his team’s per­for­mance, in their 0-0 draw in the first leg of their World Cup play­off against Peru, the peren­ni­ally calm All Whites skip­per re­mained fully aware that their job was not yet com­plete.

‘‘We’re still in the tie, and that’s where we wanted to be head­ing into the sec­ond leg. There are some things we can im­prove on, but over­all I think we played a clever game.’’

That clev­er­ness started with a tac­ti­cal change from coach An­thony Hud­son which ap­peared mi­nor, but se­verely dis­rupted Peru’s at­tack­ing flow.

It saw mid­field­ers Ryan Thomas and Clay­ton Lewis of­ten drop­ping in be­hind their wing backs to give them cover. That might have limited their abil­ity to counter at­tack with seven play­ers de­fend­ing deep, but it meant Peru’s quick and skill­ful wingers were neu­tralised.

It was a tac­tic they didn’t use at the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup - where their wing backs were un­der con­stant pres­sure - but brought in against Ja­pan for their friendly in Oc­to­ber.

Hud­son said it was a case of hav­ing had those tough games this year to learn where they needed to im­prove. He didn’t rule out fur­ther tac­ti­cal changes for the sec­ond leg at the Es­ta­dio Na­cional in Lima on Thurs­day (3.15pm NZ time).

‘‘That was slight tweak, but for the next cou­ple of days we need to com­pletely scru­ti­nise the game from Sat­ur­day and pre-empt what we think is do­ing to hap­pen for the sec­ond game.

‘‘We need to know about the subs that will come on, the play­ers that weren’t in­volved that could be in­volved. We know from pre­vi­ous games types of games like this where they’ve made changes.

‘‘We just need to be so pre­pared and in the next two and a half days or what­ever make sure we have a game­plan that is go­ing to put us in a po­si­tion to, in the last five or 10 min­utes of the game, be in a strong po­si­tion ready to win.’’

The task now is to find an away goal in that sec­ond leg.

Reid was con­fi­dent they would be able to do that, given they got on the score­sheet against Ja­pan in a 2-1 loss, while also scor­ing in friendlies away from home against Mex­ico (2-1) loss and the United States (1-1 draw) in Oc­to­ber 2016.

‘‘We’re def­i­nitely con­fi­dent be­cause we al­ways go away and play against the so-called big­ger teams and have al­ways been able to score.

‘‘Look, we’re only half­way done. We’ve still got a long way to go, but if we can con­tinue to re­cover the next cou­ple of days we’ll be ready for the game on Wed­nes­day [Peru time].’’

Reid was a colos­sus at the back, re­pelling plenty of promis­ing Peru at­tacks through­out the game at West­pac Sta­dium in Welling­ton on Sat­ur­day.

He was ably as­sisted by fel­low cen­tre backs Michael Box­all and Tommy Smith, as well as An­drew Du­rante, who came on for the in­jured Smith in the 67th minute. Smith is in doubt for the sec­ond leg with a calf in­jury.

But striker Chris Wood should be able to start af­ter spurring New Zealand on to their best pe­riod of the game when he came on in the 74th minute. He was im­mense, dom­i­nat­ing on the ball against the Peru­vian cen­tre backs and caus­ing chaos in the box when crosses came in.

Reid also picked up a knock dur­ing the game, but said it was just a dead leg and backed him­self to be fine for the sec­ond leg.

Reid dis­missed talk of the re­sult giv­ing them be­lief in them­selves, say­ing they al­ready had it be­fore the first leg.

‘‘I be­lieved in this group be­fore [Sat­ur­day].

‘‘You look at it on pa­per and they’re 10th in the world and we’re num­ber god knows what [122nd], but I knew we had a good group, we have a good coach and we have a good en­vi­ron­ment in this team. I think we can go to Peru full of con­fi­dence.’’

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