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"Stubborn" Postecoglou will stick to Plan A on horror pitch

Soccer

The Socceroos are bracing for a scrapfest on one of the worst pitches they will encounter during their World Cup qualification campaign against Iraq in Tehran tomorrow night.

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Coach Ange Postecoglou has inspected the turf at the PAS Stadium and rates it as even worse than the horrendous patchwork surface they endured in November’s 2-2 draw with Thailand.

But while conceding it will pose problems with their possession-heavy style of play, he insists they will stick to their guns.

“What do you do? Do you adjust your game for just one result or do you stick to your principles?” Postecoglou said.

“Maybe that’s me being stubborn but I just like to stick to our principles and still be successful doing it our way.

“The one thing we will factor into it is the 11 we put out on Thursday will be probably the fittest 11 we’ve got here, because we know it’s going to be a bit of a battle of 50-50 challenges.

“There won’t be a lot of times where things will be running smoothly.

“We’ll just try and play the same way and try and find our solutions in our game.”

The Socceroos will get their first look at the ground during their final training session tonight, Australian time.

They will be without key playmaker Tom Rogic, who has been sidelined since December following ankle surgery but is reportedly nearing a return to full fitness.

With a surplus of in-form midfielders in the squad, however, Postecoglou is confident his absence will be no major loss to the team given Rogic is yet to replicate his sensational form for Celtic at international level.

“If you look at Tommy’s performances last year, they weren’t anything exceptional for us – they were for Celtic,” he said.

“I think he’s still learning to be an international footballer.

“We sometimes want things too quickly from some of our players and Tommy, the last calendar year, was the first time really he’s had any sort of run in the national team.

“With the whole places we’ve played in – particularly away from home where conditions were really tough for players like him – I don’t think he was as influential as he can be or as I think he will be as he matures.”

-AAP

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