Harry Kewell said there was no rift within the Australian camp trying to keep their World Cup hopes alive after a shattering opening loss to Germany.
Media and fans back home have been attacking coach Pim Verbeek and the players after a limp 4-0 defeat to the rampant Germans in Durban last Sunday.
Football Federation Australian chief executive Ben Buckley even took the extraordinary step here on Wednesday to summon reporters and emphatically deny that there was any Socceroos team disharmony or players upset with Verbeek.
There has been widespread criticism of Verbeek’s selection and tactics against Germany, where he overlooked first choice attackers, Mark Bresciano, Josh Kennedy and Kewell for the entire game.
But senior team member Kewell fronted the Australian travelling media at training on Wednesday and said there was no ill-feeling within the team towards the Dutchman.
“I think people are making things up. Speculation saying that there’s a rift. There is no rift,” Kewell said.
“We were all disappointed to lose that game, but we are all men, we take it on the chin and we go out there and have to move on for the game against Ghana.
“We all want to play, but we all can’t play and it’s the manager’s decision and we’ve all stuck behind that. We are all right behind him, we’ve all got confidence in him to do the job.”
Australia are trying to beat Ghana in Rustenburg on Saturday to keep alive their World Cup campaign, with the Africans having beaten Serbia 1-0 in last weekend’s other Group D game.
“That was the manager’s decision to do that (leave him out). He’s the boss and you do what your boss says. It is a shame that people don’t get that into their thick heads,” Kewell said.
“No footballer ever goes up to a manager and says put me on, you can’t do that. It’s his rules, his way.”
Kewell, who has played just a couple of minutes for his Turkish club Galatasaray this year because of groin trouble, said he was ready to play 90 minutes against Ghana.
“I’m as fit as I can be. I’m happy to be out here and I’m enjoying my time here. I feel good and if I’m in the team I’ll do my country proud like any other player would,” he said.
“I’m prepared to play 90 minutes and that’s what I’ve prepared for the last four weeks.”
Kewell, the former Liverpool star, slated the domestic press for not getting behind the Socceroos ahead of their crucial pivotal group game.
“It’s a shame because people are taking this World Cup and they’re trying to turn it into a bad one, you are always having a go at us, having a go at the manager,” he said.
“You all are supposed to be here to support the team, make us feel good, and make us go out there and do it for our country.
“Okay, it wasn’t a great match against Germany, we did get belted, but there’s two more games to go and we can correct that.”