Arnold pushing Aussies to make winning a habit
GRAHAM Arnold has challenged Australia to win every remaining 2022 World Cup qualifier after it held on for an historic but gritty 1-0 win over Jordan in Amman.
Before yesterday’s victory, Australia had never beaten the hosts away, losing 1-0 in the 2019 Asian Cup group stage in the UAE, 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier in 2015 and 2-1 in another World Cup qualifier back in 2012.
Arnold believes his players proved themselves in their toughest qualifier yet, but he is demanding they maintain focus when they play Kuwait on March 26.
“We’re going for 24 [points], you know I want, I expect the boys to build a winning mentality,” he said.
“That’s what we talk a lot about and we want to go through this whole phase undefeated and getting eight wins and getting 24 points and with a great goal difference.
“It’s about improving every time we catch up and every time we get into camp it’s about building what we’ve been building, and you can see our attacking players getting better and better and the mentality of the boys working-wise is fantastic.”
The Socceroos have suffered selection issues because of injuries and fatigue caused by long-distance travel this campaign. But Arnold is optimistic he will soon be able to field a full-strength side and his squad won’t lose the cohesion they have developed.
“They’ll be fine,” he said. “Like I said when I turned up it was 23-25 strangers and now I’ve got 23 great mates that want to fight for each other and work for each other.”
Striker Adam Taggart, who scored the winner yesterday, said it had been a “quality” campaign and it would be a frustrating wait until the next match at home against Kuwait.
“It would be nice to freshen up and it was nice to end the year on a high,” he said.