Syria coach Ebrahim downplays revenge battle against Australia


Syria coach Ebrahim downplays revenge battle against Australia
Australia will be hoping to stay focused in the absence of Trent Sainsbury and injured Mathew Leckie, as they take on Palestine today.

Al Ain - Syria need to win to be certain of securing a place in the Round of 16

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Published: Mon 14 Jan 2019, 8:37 PM

Last updated: Mon 14 Jan 2019, 10:51 PM

New coach Fajr Ebrahim is confident his long-standing relationship with several members of Syria's AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 squad can help in their quest for victory over Australia on Tuesday as they seek to secure a place in the knockout rounds.
Ebrahim has taken over from Bernd Stange, who was fired following Syria's 2-0 loss at the hands of Jordan in the second round of matches in Group B, and he is confident he can oversee an immediate upturn in the team's fortunes when his team take on the Socceroos at Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium on Tuesday evenin, AFC website reported.
"We have our own plans and we don't feel any fear," said Ebrahim. "We just feel the spirit of the challenge.
"The positive thing is that I worked with the team during the qualification process, so I'm not a new head coach. I was training the team and I know most of the players, some of them for nearly 10 years, and I worked with them since they were junior players."
"I know their ability and their way of thinking and I'm sure in this period of time we can change the reality.
"I know the players and they know me from a long time ago and as soon as I joined the team we started our training. We know each other well. This is no more than shaking hands and starting the training session."
Syria need to win to be certain of securing a place in the Round of 16 and they will be looking to defeat the nation that ended their hopes of qualifying for their first-ever Fifa World Cup a little over a year ago.
But while Ebrahim dismissed any suggestion the Syrians were looking to avenge that narrow loss, he stressed he wanted the players to adopt the same attitude they showed during the Russia 2018 qualifying campaign.
"During World Cup qualification the atmosphere was the significant thing," he said.
"In the football world there is nothing new in terms of tactics, it's about mental readiness. We had a high level of focus and concentration. This is what we are focusing on regaining, the past atmosphere. Everybody observed our games saw we were lacking mental readiness."
Australia go into the game without the services of Trent Sainsbury, who is suspended after picking up a second yellow card of the group phase in the 3-0 win over Palestine, while Mathew Leckie is still sidelined by a hamstring injury.
As a result, the Socceroos will be forced to make a defensive reshuffle but coach Graham Arnold is attempting to keep his players focused on the task that lies ahead.
"I don't know the new coach, but I can control my players and that is about the attitude," said Arnold. "A winning mentality is all about that attitude and making sure we're healthy, we're fit and we're ready to go. The only thing we're focused on is three points and winning the game. We go into every match with the mentality of expecting to win the game."

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