Socceroos: 'Restrictive' surface won't be an excuse

The Socceroos insist they won’t be using the Spartak Stadium surface as an excuse ahead of their opening 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

Australia arrived in Bishkek on Sunday and trained on the ground for the first time on Monday ahead of the clash with Kyrgyzstan from midnight tonight (AEST).

There has been concerns in the lead-up to the contest about the quality of the surface, particularly around the penalty area.

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Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou conceded the pitch presented a challenge, but called on his side to overcome it.

“(The conditions) always play a role. They can be restrictive particularly with the kind of football we want to play,” Postecoglou said.

“The pitch is what it is. It’ll make things more challenging for us, but that’s part of this qualifying process as well.

“It’s not just what you need to overcome from the opposition but also what you need to overcome in all these external factors.

“For us to become the team we want to be we need to make sure we eliminate all those obstacles and come out on top.”

No Australian national team, male or female, senior or under-age, has ever played in Kyrgyzstan before.

The logistics surrounding the match, which saw the Socceroos have a 10-day training camp in hot temperatures in Dubai, as well as the gameday conditions are among the challenges.

Australia skipper Mile Jedinak reiterated Postecoglou’s stance, imploring his side not to use it as an excuse.

“That’s one of the biggest factors when you do come to a place where you haven’t been before, not knowing what the surface or the conditions will be like,” Jedinak said.

“But it’s up to us to not use that as an excuse. We need to put that aside and try play our game and impose ourselves on the opposition.”

Meanwhile, Postecoglou gave little away when asked about the make-up of his starting line-up.

Several players have been playing catch-up during the training camp, put on individual programs based on their club game time and the timing of the conclusion of their respective seasons.

“As always I’ve got a fair idea of who will start,” Postecoglou said.

“A lot of that is based on the week of training and who looks in the best possible condition to play the football we want.

“The pleasing part from my perspective is I’m pretty confident any 11 I put out there would be able to perform well and play our style of football.”

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