Subway Joeys Captain Anthony Pavlesic lauded the resilience shown in the action-packed 5-3 win over China, and insists the squad has firmly turned its attention to Tajikistan.
It was pulsating contest that you could not take your eyes off with Australia U17 commanding a 4-1 lead after 25 minutes before China fought back before half time and caused a few nervy moments in the second stanza.
Pavlesic, 17, reiterated head coach Brad Maloney’s messaging, about the importance of relying on the entire squad and not just individuals.
“We all know it takes more than just a starting 11 to achieve these results,” Pavlesic told Football Australia Media.
“But we need the support from everyone from the bench players because it’s very hot here as we all know and players get tired, players get cramps players get injured and the support from everyone, the staff as well.
“It’s the whole team, it’s a team effort and it shows in all the moments, everyone had their own jobs to do in the game, everyone was just confident and we got it done.”
When Nathan Amanatidis struck the final knockout punch in the eighth minute of stoppage time, scenes of utter jubilation ensued.
The entire squad ran over to the corner, indicative of just what a result it meant and ignite their campaign following that opening defeat to Saudi Arabia.
“I can’t remember the last time I’ve run that fast,” he joked.
“It’s just pure joy because you know in the last minute of the game, you seal the victory.
“And after all the emotions after everything we went through to prepare for the game, all the training, after you seal the victory, just such relief and joy and excitement and it showed in everyone’s reactions, we had the whole bench running over, the coaching staff.
“So it was just it was unbelievable moment.”
Heading into their final Group C match, the Aussies only need a draw against Tajikistan in Bangkok to advance to the knockout stage but will be targeting another three points.
“We just know we have to keep the exact same focus and bring the same energy we had from the China game going into Tajikistan,” he said.
“We’ve been looking into how they play and everything but we’re ready. Everyone knows their roles and what we need to do to take the game to them and look to do the same thing we did against China.”
The goalkeeper went on to state it has been amazing having Subway Socceroos boss Graham Arnold in camp after arriving from China following the game against Argentina
He said his presence has provided just another incentive to perform and allows him to see the next generation up close.
“It’s a pleasure honestly, as young players you want to step forward and go through the ranks to get into the Socceroos,” he said.
“So having the Socceroos coach here, I think everyone knows how important it is and it’s given us a little bit more motivation, a little bit more push to try and impress him and you just feel the presence.
“But he hasn’t added too much pressure on us because you still know we have the same job to do, but it gives us a little bit more motivation to try and do something and it’s great having him around.”
On Maloney’s management style, Pavlesic spoke extremely highly of his methods and the togetherness he has instilled in the group.
“He just really good at managing his players and he comes to us a lot and talks to us sometimes individually, sometimes as a team, makes sure everyone’s okay,” he said.
“… And he asks for our feedback a lot which is really helpful because as players, happiness and everything’s very important and you can see in the camaraderie we have as a team, how much it shows on the pitch but that starts with Brad.”