Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk has commended the obedience of his players but believes there is a lack of creativity in the Australian mentality and style of play.
Australia's coach for the 2018 World Cup in Russia says discipline is important but never more so than intuition, publicly saying his players need to think more for themselves.
Speaking ahead of the Socceroos' first warm-up match before the tournament, against Czech Republic on Friday night (AEST), van Marwijk wants his players to question instructions more often instead of adhering to orders strictly and never to be afraid to improvise and express themselves.
Express yourself: Bert van Marwijk wants his Socceroos to be disciplined but be less obedient.
Van Marwijk is overseeing a transition to a more structured defence, compact without possession and display a more structured shape. However, within the confines of his system, he wants the Australians to display their character.
"The only thing I already told them a few times, I like discipline because you need that on the pitch but also outside the pitch, but also you have to take your own decisions," van Marwijk said. "It’s good that you listen but you must not do everything a 100 per cent [of what] the coach asks because situations can change. That’s what we talked about a lot of times already."
Friday's test against the Czech Republic will be the clearest indicator yet of how van Marwijk's Australian side will play in Russia with the match played after 11 days of intensive training. At the neutral venue of the NV Arena in St Polten, Austria, the game will also be in preparation for the Socceroos' first World Cup group match against France on June 16. Van Marwijk made it clear that their entire three-week training camp is almost entirely focused on how they will play against the World Cup contenders.
"I prefer to lose two times 5-0 [in their warm-up games[ and win the game against France …. but I don’t like to lose. Never," he said.
The 1pm match [local time] is set to be played in warm and humid heat in St Polten but van Marwijk suggested the conditions won't influence his selection.
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