Reid praises ‘clever’ tactics
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.’’