Tony Gustavsson got his first taste of a Matildas win on home soil and while he saw a 3-1 victory over Brazil as progress, a more clinical performance is needed.
Australia pressed high and hard against the Brazilians at Parramatta’s Commbank Stadium, often regaining possession high up the pitch and looking threatening in attack.
It’s been the way Gustavsson wants them to play and on Saturday it yielded results, allowing the likes of Steph Catley and Ellie Carpenter to stretch the visitors’ defence.
A three-goal win might sound promising, but Australia were still fallible, and it wasn’t until Emily van Egmont’s 80th minute strike that the victory became a sure thing.
Gustavsson, whose side face Brazil again on Tuesday, saw positives in Australia’s opening half even if the execution was lacking.
“Those first 20 minutes, the energy, the enthusiasm, the tempo – we should have been 2-0 up,” he said.
“That shows a little bit of what we want to be about in terms of the aggressive pressing, the high tempo, to get a lot of numbers in attack and play kind of free from fear, so to speak.”
Attack has never been an issue under the Swede, but defence has been the achilles’ heel.
Coming into Saturday’s game they were conceding 2.5 goals per game.
Restricting Brazil to just one goal, which came when Alanna Kennedy slipped at the back to allow Adriana to pounce, could therefore be considered progress.
While Kennedy’s errors led to the goal, there were other moments when Brazil looked to break which had Australia caught short.
But with more time Gustavsson was hopeful those shortcomings could be ironed out.
“We did a little bit of a formation change,” Gustavsson said of his move to field four at the back.
“We said we wanted to be flexible in our formation. Your identity doesn’t sit in your formation, it’s about what you do.
“We are always going to be a pressing team and we’ll always be attacking minded.
“I do think we got dispossessed in bad areas and they were dangerous in transition.
“I think we could’ve cost ourselves a couple of goals. We were lucky to be honest, we still have some things to clean up. It was a step in the right direction.
“Are there some impressive things in there, some things I’m happy with? Yes, but we need to stay humble and realise we still have a lot of work to do.”