Ange or no Ange, Socceroos have a plan for success
SOCCEROOS winger Mathew Leckie says Ange Postecoglou's attacking game plan will hold the team in good stead for its World Cup assault next year.
And while he said it hasn't been "perfect", star midfielder Aaron Mooy said the Australian players can hold their heads high for the way they approached qualification.
Postecoglou is keeping his cards close to his chest as to whether he will follow the team to Russia, but the players are advocating keeping the game plan on after a 2017 spent tweaking and perfecting it.
Defensively, Leckie says the first leg against Honduras in San Pedro Sula was the best the team has played under the new formation, setting up last night's 3-1 triumph in the return bout at ANZ Stadium.
Leckie knows there's been critics of the team and its formation.
But he said last night's resounding success does not need to serve as any form of vindication.
"It's one of those things," Leckie said.
"I'm sure everyone is buzzing that we've won. I'm sure there'll be positive talk.
"And then when things go wrong there'll be negative talk again.
"That's the way it is, but we don't let it affect us.
"We've stuck to what we wanted to do all along and at the end it's paid off.
"Obviously not qualifying direct was a bit of a scare for the nation and those involved with football, but we did it in the end and we did it our way and hopefully we can expand and get better with what we're doing.
"The ultimate opportunity is that we can do well at the World Cup.
"The boss always goes on about how we can get results by parking the bus and pumping long balls, maybe scoring on the counter. But once you come up against good opposition, how much is that going to help?
"So we've always tried to stick to what we do and in the long term, and once we get to Russia, I think we'll benefit from it."
Mooy said the relief of knowing qualification was now sealed was palpable.
"It's just a great to finally know we're going to a World Cup," he said.
"It's been the most games and most travel any team has ever done to qualify for a World Cup. It's been very difficult, but we're there now.
"We set out to do it a bit different than the other generations. Play a more of a passing style of play. It hasn't been perfect the whole journey, but we played nice football."
Leckie was suspended for the first leg so watched on TV in Melbourne with teammates Mark Milligan, also suspended, and Robbie Kruse, injured.
"We had a few chances to score and it was probably our best in terms of limiting the opposition in chances created," Leckie said.
"It set us up for this game."
And so did the Hondurans play the way he thought they would in Sydney based on what he observed last weekend?
"They expected a result in Honduras, they were more attacking and more aggressive.
"(Last night) they parked the bus a little bit more.
"We expected them to play five at the back and they did. They defended really well.
"It was tough, they were very physical and we just knew that, like in most games in this qualification campaign, if we keep going at them that they were going to get tired.
"It was a well deserved result."