Gustavsson “impressed” with Westfield Matildas ‘Never Say Die’ spirit

From the opposition bench Tony Gustavsson watched the Westfield Matildas and admired one quality: the Never Say Die spirit

Speaking to the Australian media after his appointment as national team coach, Gustavsson spoke of what factors attracted him to the role.

When asked about the current traits within this squad that he admires, the Swede couldn’t help but praise the Australian fighting spirit and touched on how he can build on that trait to help the side succeed.

Tony Gustavsson Thin Banner

“The spirit and the Never Say Die attitude needs to be the base and foundation, what we need to do now is to put some add-ons to that foundation.”

“That belief that we (Westfield Matildas) have good enough qualities to beat anyone on any day, even if we have bad moments or are down a goal is one step.”

Gustavsson, Brandis, Foord
Tony Gustavsson with High Commissioner George Brandis and Caitlin Foord (Photo: Getty Images)

However, Gustavsson, who possesses great expertise in assisting teams through major tournaments at club and national team level, was very open on what it takes for a side to be successful.

“Something that comes in my mind straight away is game management.”

“I've experienced tournaments a lot and I know any team can win when they play good but it's about winning when you're not playing good and can understand what it takes to find a way to win.”

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After assisting the US Women’s National Team to consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup successes in 2015 and 2019, the new Westfield Matildas coach would have understandably been approached by a range of different nations, however he makes clear what had drawn him to Australia.

“The Federation has shown that they are really keen and willing to invest in women's football meaning that now we have a World Cup on home soil in 2023.”

Another reason why I'm here is all the amazing people that I get the chance to work with. It's a very exciting player pool that I think can get to the next level and with the next generation coming through also.”

The 47-year-old understands that work needs to be done to help Australia bridge the gap on their competitors.

A man who emphasises culture, Gustavsson explains how he intends to help the team improve, with a slogan we may here very often throughout the next three years.

“I always say ‘one day better’, how to distinguish stars from the average players is the singular drive to achieve and improve.”

If we together can create a culture where we always want to be ‘one day better’ and not just ‘one day older’, then we have the chance to take this team to the next level.”

The Westfield Matildas will have plenty of major tournaments to compete in as preparation for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup on home soil.

Gustavsson will lead the side through an Olympic campaign in 2021 and an Asian Cup campaign before the big event, with Australian fans excited to see what improvement is made throughout the next four years.