Stajcic hails Westfield Matildas’ winning mentality after Norway thriller
Westfield Matildas boss Alen Stajcic has praised his side’s mental toughness following a pulsating 4-3 win over Norway in their opening Algarve Cup match on Thursday (AEDT).
Substitute Larissa Crummer scored in the 95th minute to hand Australia a thrilling victory in wet and windy conditions in Portugal.
Earlier, Australia went behind inside 10 minutes before clicking into gear and raced to a 3-1 lead at half-time lead courtesy of goals to Clare Polkinghorne, Chloe Logarzo and Sam Kerr.
Norway fought their back into the contest and grabbed two quick goals to make it 3-3 before Crummer's late winner.
Stajcic admitted he was pleased to see his side fight back after surrendering a two-goal lead, particularly in testing conditions.
“It was an interesting game due to the conditions that made it a little bit tricky, Stajcic told matildas.footballaustralia.com.au
“The pleasing part was despite getting two early goals against us in the second half, we were the ones I thought that bounced back from that point onwards. We probably created more chances in the last 20 minutes of the game.
“It’s a tremendous boost to the team to show that resilience and that mental toughness. Even in the game today there were so many things that could’ve gone either way and we showed that toughness that we need to be a champion team.
“Possibly there were periods of the game that didn’t go our way but we fought our way back every time, and showed that positivity and winning spirit right up until the last whistle. I think that was the difference between us and them."
The Matildas have just two days in between games with Australia to tackle Portugal in their second group match on Saturday morning (AEDT).
With such little recovery time at the tournament, Stajcic said he’ll look to rotate the squad with one eye on April’s Asian Cup.
“It’s obviously tough, there’s not a long turnaround with less than 48 hours between matches. It’s all about recuperation and recovery, and being fit and ready to go for the next one,” Stajcic said.
“There’s no doubt we’ll try and rotate the squad as best we can. It’s all about building the depth of the squad – that’s been the objective for the last year and a half, and that will continue to be the objective for the next period of time as well.”