ANGE Postecoglou will put his legacy on the line and refuse to compromise an inch as he seeks to send the Socceroos to the World Cup in style.
Unabashed by being held to a draw by Iraq on Thursday, and adamant the radical formation he unveiled to his team for the first time this week is the only way forward, Postecoglou declared that those seeking pragmatism will have to wait until "the next person's in charge".
Australia played for the first time in the system Postecoglou has designed to take them through to the World Cup, a set-up with three in defence and a heavy emphasis on attack.
At times on Thursday night, amid constant rain and on a lumpen pitch, that back three was almost swept away by the Iraqi attacking waves, but ultimately was able to restrict them to a single goal.
It was the team's fourth draw in a row and leaves them three points adrift of the top two spots in their group that guarantee a place at the World Cup. Anything less than a win against the UAE on Tuesday night will leave Australia staring at twin playoffs, with major repercussions from failing to qualify.
Postecoglou only briefed his players fully on Monday night for the first time about the tactical changes, with a detailed presentation that was subsequently shown to The Daily Telegraph. In it he explained to his squad how the tactics used at the World Cup in 2014, which evolved through the Asian Cup triumph seven months later and again last year, needed overhauling.
For two years Postecoglou has been seeking extra depth at fullback and on the wings, all the while trying to accommodate a surfeit of creative players in central midfield. The answer, prompted in part by several months spent in Europe, is an ultra-aggressive, ultra-attacking construction that seeks to dominate every game.
A less gung-ho coach might regard the middle of a World Cup qualifying campaign as too risky an environment to bring such a change.
The problem is the vulnerability that can appear when a game isn't dominated, and when a driven, determined opponent forces the Australians onto the back foot - just like Iraq did on Thursday night. But those thinking that performance might give Postecoglou pause for thought are thinking of the wrong coach.
"You'll get a pragmatic coach straight after me and you'll all revel in that and then you'll be seeking someone who does things differently," he said. "It's just me, it's the way I coach. I don't see it as a risk - I'm trying to get the maximum out of this group and the maximum out of what we do.
"From the moment I took over I've tried to push the limits, and even in terms of expectations I certainly haven't downplayed anything. It's just who I am, the pragmatism people sometimes want will come when the next person's in charge."
"I'm not as hung up about the system, I know that's what people will focus on. For us it's about continually growing this group and expose them to different challenges."
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