Triumphant Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou is a self-declared outsider, believing he is derided by some because he lacks a decorated playing career for the national side.
But he has achieved something no other n coach has by guiding the national team to the World Cup – and he chose the aftermath of his triumphal moment to lash out at those “with microphones” who have “thrown things” in his direction during his period in charge.
Postecoglou looked and sounded like a man who was relieved that the tension and the pressure of the qualifying campaign was over after leading to Russia 2018 with a play off victory over Honduras, although he did little to clarify his immediate future post game.
But he scoffed at suggestions that the result was a vindication of his approach to coaching the Socceroos, and the way he has sought to change the perception of the national team in his four years in charge.
“If people still think I go around worrying about what other people say and try to get some vindication, I think you have missed the last 20 years,” he said during the post-match media conference.
“I won my first championship when I was 31 years old. I can coach for another twenty years and you know what, I will always be an outsider in n football.
“You know what, I don’t have the glittering Socceroo career that you need, and that’s fine.
“I will wear that as a badge of honour as I keep saying to people. The more that comes my way the more determined and resilient I am to just keep going down my own path.
“Its worked well for me, some people don’t like it, but to be fair I have had a hell of a lot of support. Players, coaches, the general sporting public; there’s not a day goes by, maybe I just see the nice ones, but people consistently give me encouragement.
“The people who don’t get me have never got me and will never get me.”
While he talked expansively about how happy he was to have taken the team to its fourth consecutive World Cup, he exposed the jagged nerve endings that come with being a coach at this level of the game.
“Its just overwhelming. You are coaching your own national team, there’s an extra burden of responsibility there, you know what it means to the nation, to these players, staff, management and the organisation, everyone has worked awfully hard over the last two and a half years.
“You just want them to get rewarded for it, just seeing them in the dressing room now… they are happy. They got what they deserved.”
With the team’s berth in Russia secured, the big question is whether the coach will be joining them. He did not provide clarification immediately after the game.
“Right now its just about enjoying the moment. I owe it to myself, particularly my family, my wife, my boys, my friends, because while I have got a thick skin they have hey have had to cop what I have been copping and its unfair on them. Tonight its just about enjoying it.
“What happens beyond here can be picked up tomorrow and then we can decide then.
“I won’t take too long. I will sit down with the powers that be. Its important that the planning goes ahead, the draw is not too far away, it won’t take too long but I am going to make sure I will enjoy this first.
“Probably the one thing I haven’t done well is show the amount of support I have had. People have presumed that I have felt under siege because certain people were throwing things my way. but for the most part I have got a hell of a lot of encouragement from the general public and a lot of people in the game. They just don’t happen to hold a microphone so they don’t get heard.”