Australian midfielder Mark Milligan says the Socceroos never had any doubts about Ange Postecoglou’s tactics.
Postecoglou’s much maligned system of three at the back has been subject to vociferous criticism since the Socceroos boss first introduced it for the World Cup qualifier against Iraq.
However, the 0-0 draw away to Honduras produced one of the best Socceroos performances since the new system was employed. The tactics were even praised by Fox Sports duo Mark Bosnich and Robbie Slater, who have been staunch critics of the Socceroos boss' recent tactics.
The fear before the first leg at San Pedro Sula was that Honduras' pacey attack would expose the Socceroos down the flanks. Instead, Australia dominated the match, with the home team recording only one shot on target.
In fact, the result was the first time Honduras played out a nil-all draw at home since a 2004 World Cup Qualifier against Costa Rica.
Milligan said the Socceroos have had faith in the boss's methods since day one.
“We’ve known for a long time that Ange Postecoglou’s tactics are working,” he said.
“We analysed things a lot differently to everybody outside us. That’s one thing that this group has always had - belief in the way that we’ve been playing and the formations that we play.
“Whether that’s a 4-3-3 or going to a three at the back, we see the progress and the way that we are doings things.
“The complete 90 minutes in Honduras was excellent and it was very timely.
“In a lot of away games, we’ve been quite strong. We’ve always looked to go and win and we’ve always looked to put pressure on teams and it looked like it all came together on Saturday morning.”
Milligan was suspended for the first leg but whether he replaces captain Mile Jedinak, who excelled in Honduras after a long injury lay-off, is up for debate, but the Victory midfielder said he was ready regardless.
“I’m definitely ready to step in if need be,” he said. “The next two days are very important to make sure that I’m at my very best and not just if I need to play, but to make sure everybody is prepared as well.
“Traditionally over the second leg there have been changes. There have been fresh legs that have come in and the thing is we are all very confident with being able to do that. So whoever’s turn it is on Wednesday night, we know we step up and execute to the best of our ability.”
The Socceroos' charter flight from Honduras featured images and video of the team wearing Re-Timer glasses that were used to limit fatigue and keep the players awake as they crossed time zones.
Milligan joked that some players were still making use of the space-age equipment.
“They must be working because Gowser (Ryan McGowan) is still walking around with them on,” he said.
“People like team doctor Craig Duncan and the medical stuff are right on top of these sorts of things. So it’s always been something that’s been important to us to make sure that we’ve recovered well and are ready for the next game.
“It’s a massive part of the modern game, especially when you are doing this much travel for such an important equation.”