Socceroos more attacking under Arnold, defender says
E Socceroos are ratcheting up pressure on themselves to defeat Kuwait and begin Graham Arnold's tenure on a winning note.
There's little on the line for Australia in their friendly against the Middle Eastern minnows on Tuesday morning (AEDT), but nothing less than a win against the world No.159 will suffice.
The match is a low-key beginning to the Socceroos' Asian Cup defence, which will take places in the United Arab Emirates in January.
While the serious stuff comes later, both Arnold - who starts his second stint in charge of the national team - and his playing group are steeled for the clash.
"We expect to go out there and put on a good performance and make a statement," defender Aziz Behich said.
The friendly comes after two camps under Arnold - the first a week-long stint in Turkey last month, and the second in the past week at their Asian Cup base of Dubai.
The Socceroos transfer to Kuwait on Saturday, and Behich says expectations are high.
"From day one I could see the energy on the training pitch. The intensity of our training sessions has been second to none," he said.
"When I look at our squad, we have a great squad and we have a lot of quality. We always expect to win."
The match is Australia's first since their disappointing World Cup campaign.
Under Bert van Marwijk, Australia performed admirably in their first two group games in Russia, restricting eventual champions France before falling to a late loss and getting the better of Denmark despite a 1-1 result.
The Socceroos' third match, when qualification for the knockout rounds was on the line, resulted in a 2-0 loss to already-eliminated Peru.
The resounding criticism from Russia - given both the Socceroos' goals came from Mile Jedinak penalties - was that Australia had forgotten how to score.
Under Arnold, the prevailing view is that will change.
As Sydney FC coach, Arnold set new A-League goalscoring records on his way to two premierships.
Behich said there was "definitely" a greater emphasis on attacking under Arnold than his Dutch predecessor.
"We can do damage," he said.
"I've never worked with Arnie, this is my first time, but when you're playing against him ... it was always difficult to defend his style of play.
"Getting the full-backs really high, it's really going to suit me. I like to get up the pitch a lot.
"We've shown we could defend really well in the World Cup. Hopefully we can work really hard at hitting the back of the net more often now."