Mark Milligan says Australians need to understand Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou had the courage to try things no other coach would have.
Australia booked their place in the 2018 World Cup in Russia after a 3-1 win over Honduras at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night.
Postecoglou has come under immense scrutiny for the length it took for Australia to qualify and has also been questioned by some former Socceroos, now pundits, about his tactics.
Australia played with a back three once again in Sydney and Milligan, who drifted into a No.10 role against Honduras, said what Postecoglou has done needs to be acknowledged.
“Ange has continually been tweaking and testing us and from the group’s point of view, we’ve always responded,” Milligan said.
“People forget we’re not with Ange every day, we don’t get to work on these things on a day-to-day basis.
“I watched a game on Tuesday when Chelsea lost to Arsenal 3-0 last season playing a similar formation and then they went on to win the Premier League… they worked together every day.
“These things do take a little bit of time. Firstly Ange had the foresight and courage to implement it with us, secondly, we had the courage to go along with the journey.
“We might’ve had the odd game where we haven’t dominated for 90 minutes like everyone wanted us to, but this group is very resilient and I’m proud of what we achieved in Sydney.
“We don’t feel like we need to stick it to the critics because we’ve known all along we were on the right path. We knew our football in the end would speak for itself and I think it did against Honduras.”
Milligan admits Australia had to do things the hard way by going into the CONCACAF-AFC play-off.
Over 77,000 people turned up to Sydney on Wednesday and the Melbourne Victory utility believes the extra four games against Syria and Honduras could actually be beneficial for their momentum.
“Australia loves a grand final don’t they? It’s pretty much what they got in Sydney,” he joked.
“We will take a lot out of these matches. The experience of playing in Honduras and to come back to Sydney to a full house.
“You can't manufacture this. We have taken a lot from it and overall the group is still quite young, so these experiences are invaluable.”
Normal service will be resumed for Milligan as he returns to Victory to take on Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Sunday night.
Milligan admitted he had the World Cup on his mind when he returned to Victory for his second-stint.
The 32-year-old was selected in the past three World Cups, but was almost included as a fringe player, but finally got his chance in 2014 against the Chileans in Cuiaba.
“I have a chance to go to my fourth World Cup, it’s not something I’m taking for granted and it’s a massive thank you to this group,” Milligan said.
“They’ve worked so very hard, from the first World Cup that Ange took us to in 2014 to winning the (2015) Asian Cup and not winning a game in between that.
“We definitely did things the hard way, the next 10 months is going to be the beginning of a new journey for us all.”