'Ange wanted us to overplay sometimes', reveals comfortable Luongo


Massimo Luongo says his star turn against Colombia was one of his best-ever Socceroos performances and revealed he is comfortable with Bert van Marwijk’s style, compared to that of former coach Ange Postecoglou.

Luongo started in central midfield alongside Mile Jedinak at Craven Cottage, with Aaron Mooy injured.

The QPR man was Australia’s best in London, breaking up attacks and keeping possession impressively, as the green and gold secured a 0-0 draw with the Colombians.

Luongo more than held his own against a La Tricolor side stacked with talent and attacking weapons. He revealed van Marwijk’s 4-2-3-1 formation and philosophy of play is personally more suited to his abilities and experiences as a player.

“I think I was a bit more comfortable in there,” Luongo said. 

“Ange wanted us to overplay sometimes and produce really good moments as a team on the ball. Today that wasn’t that for us, they had a lot of the possession and it was quite the opposite. 

“But we nailed down something we haven’t done in a while I think, probably I’m more comfortable with than other players at doing. It’s just something I’ve always been good at and it was easy for me to do that today. 

“And obviously when I’m having a good game and doing what the manager wants, like everyone else should be thinking, then we can try and start doing other things.”

Luongo believes more time on the training park with van Marwijk, along with a more settled defence, helped Australia perform better against the South Americans after their stilted display in Norway.

“We’ve had three days to work on it, two days, one really good day, just to get the points across,” he said. 

“The first game he didn’t want to give too much information because he didn’t want to confuse us. He just wanted us to play, to get a feel for the team a little bit.

“But I thought we had good leadership from behind, especially in midfield from behind. We just worked on it and I think we nailed it tonight. 

“Well 90% of it we got right. The penalty probably is what could happen if we get it wrong, but that happens. I think overall it was a good performance from us.

“It was not the most typical game we’ve played. But we were solid, we soaked a lot [of it up]. When we play like that we realise what the manager’s trying to get from us.

“We haven’t worked at all on anything on the ball. I think he trusts us to be good players, to create something just off the cuff. He said we’re going to do a lot of that in May. We executed the plan. We got a draw out of it.”

Luongo said Australia can take confidence from a solid performance against a team that is ranked 13th in the world and knocked over France 3-2 just five days ago.

“We haven’t analysed that game or anything too much, but yeah it’s just a bit of confidence,” he said.

“It gets people behind us a little bit more. We’ll just take it as a positive… we’ve got loads of work to do but we’ve come a long way in just seven days. It’s exciting.”