Having his team written off as no-hopers is fine by Anthony Hudson - what matters is the belief the All Whites have among themselves.
After the pulsating 0-0 draw in the first leg of the World Cup playoff against Peru in Wellington, the All Whites left for the return leg in Lima proud of what they achieved yet ready to prove the doubters wrong one more time.
Ranked 122 in the world, the All Whites were given little chance against 10th-ranked Peru, and Hudson says that's a fair assessment - from outsiders.
"I don't think anyone expected us to be in the tie with 10 or 15 minutes to go - before the game everyone was writing us off and talking about the gap in class," Hudson told reporters.
"Leading into this game everyone will write us off - still. That's normal. The whole football world expects Peru to win and you wouldn't be wrong to say that, looking at the teams on paper. And that's fine ... but we believe we're going to go there and win."
Hudson was confident talismanic striker Chris Wood would play more than the 20 minutes he did in Wellington, given he has a few more days to fully recover from a hamstring strain.
"We've planned it right, we've got past this first part, and now Woodsy's going to have a few more days under his belt.
"I don't feel any pressure - I'm going to pick the best team we have on the day, and I'm confident Woodsy's going to be in that team."
And central defender Winston Reid was also fully fit, with Hudson saying his occasional hobbling at Westpac Stadium was due to a knock, rather than a muscular problem.
Defender Tommy Smith, subbed off with a calf tweak in the 68th minute, was also looking good to start, "The mood's good. The players are pleased, rightly so; they should feel proud of themselves. At breakfast everyone was happy and light - everyone is in a good place because it was a very strong performance, it was a solid performance, a more mature performance.
"We have even more belief now - we're at the halfway point and the pressure is on Peru so it's given everyone the belief."
Hudson said the idea of playing in Russia next year "now becomes a little more real, because it's closer", adding that the pressure on Peru to score would only help New Zealand, who had a good record of picking up goals on the road.
"The scenario for us is one we're really embracing - we're going to an environment where the pressure is all on them. They have to come out and score so it will be a different type of game - we don't have to be in a rush to score - we know we will get chances. Whenever we've gone away from home, we've always scored
"They can't afford to lose to New Zealand - the pressure is truly on them. And we know we're going to score - we believe that. We also know, having reviewed the game, there's areas we can do better in and having seen them ... we also know what we can do better in terms of stopping them."
Hudson said the key now was recovery - "constant massages, ice baths, stretching" - and strategies to manage sleep on the trip to Lima.
There was a certain irony, he acknowledged, in that his main complaint as All Whites coach has been the amount of travel the team has endured in recent years.
"Psychologically we're used to this adversity. No player in our team will have any negativity about [travel]. What was my biggest complaint for three years has become a real positive because that's all we do - play away from home. No one in the squad is fearful, or doubting.
"What we need to do in the next couple of days is make sure we do everything possible to get our best team on the pitch."
Defender Storm Roux won't make the trip to Lima for the second leg as he hasn't recovered from an ankle injury.