Australia’s Massimo Luongo on Tuesday night emphasised that the Socceroos have better games ahead of them after their 2-0 win over the UAE.
The 22-year-old Man of the Match was clearly comfortable in front of the media spotlight, which will only intensify in the run-in to Saturday’s Asian Cup Final where his side will face South Korea.
“It wasn’t our best performance but I think every one of us worked so hard, so I think deep down we know we deserve to be in the final,” Luongo told reporters after the match. “Maybe if we didn’t score we’d have controlled the game better, but being 2-0 up we made it a little hard on ourselves.
“We could have kept the same tempo or kept the ball longer.”
The Swindon Town midfielder admitted that the MOTM designation, his second of the tournament, was a boost to his confidence.
“I know what I’m capable of, and to bring it out on a big stage like this is a little surprising,” Luongo elaborated, “but I feel like I’m getting away with a lot and I should believe in myself a little more and maybe I can do more in the next game.”
Like his other Australia teammates, he was quick to note that the team will look to play a similar strategy against South Korea, to whom they lost 1-0 in Brisbane.
“We created a number of chances [in Brisbane],” Luongo elaborated. “They’ve got a few threats that we know about, but we want to play the same way and we want to speed up the game and create as many chances as we did.
Asked how he was coping mentally and physically with the stresses of the month-long tournament, Luongo stayed positive. “Mentally I’m just enjoying the whole thing. I’m more overwhelmed than worrying about how I’m doing mentally.
Of course [I’m enjoying it], if you’re not enjoying it you shouldn’t be doing it.”