Matildas midfielder Tameka Yallop has welcomed new coach Tony Gustavsson’s intent to play as many top opponents as possible in the build-up to a jam-packed schedule of international tournaments.
Gustavsson announced earlier this week he wants his team match-hardened with games against the world’s best leading into this year’s Tokyo Olympics.
It’s a move which Yallop believes is necessary given the small margin for error at the 12-nation tournament.
“There’s not many teams there anyway and they’re the top teams so if you do want to prepare for it, you do have to be playing top teams otherwise you’re kind of going to be underdone going into the tournament,” Yallop told AAP.
“For football anyway it’s not as big as a World Cup where you have more teams to play and a couple more games, it’s cut-throat straightaway, so you definitely need those competitive teams to play against leading into it.”
Yallop and other Matildas squad members have held group Zoom meetings with their new coach after the Swede’s tenure kicked off on January 1.
The Brisbane Roar player, who will take on Melbourne Victory in a W-League fixture on the Gold Coast on Friday night, said initial impressions of Gustavsson were encouraging.
The 29-year-old is eager though for the Matildas to meet in camp with Gustavsson, having last been together in March.
“It’s been great to get to know him, nothing like being in person though so everyone’s itching to get into a camp and actually physically start playing together,” she said.
“It’s been great to speak to him and stuff but we’re excited to get into camp.”