Adelaide United boss, Guillermo Amor, has denied claims that Sydney FC has the tendency to capitulate when under pressure, instead stating his Reds will have their work cut-out for them at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night when the sides meet.
With Adelaide United currently sitting third on the Hyundai A-League ladder, following their 4-2 victory over Central Coast Mariners last weekend, the Reds go into their match with Graham Arnold’s Sydney FC as favourites.
United currently hold the upper-hand over their Round 26 opponents, having lost only once in their past five games against the Sky Blues and remain undefeated in New South Wales for the entirety of season 2015/16.
But Reds’ Head Coach, Guillermo Amor, said his side are anticipating a stubborn Sydney FC outfit to face them on Saturday evening, especially considering the significance of both team’s last two domestic matches.
“This is our penultimate game for the season and it is a very big game for both clubs,” Amor said. “The situations of the two teams is very different at the moment, but we’re expecting Sydney to give us a tough game.
“Sydney have had a difficult season in the A-League and have had to balance the (Asian) Champions League, which has not been easy for them. But we must be ready.
“They drew with us at home in our last game and in the first game this season they pushed us all the way and we only won 2-1.
“For me, they are good with the ball and without the ball. They can press teams well and can hold their positions strongly.
“But we’re only thinking about our game and the job we have to do, no more. We’ll go there and win, not wait for anything.
“If we go with any other mentality, we might not get the points we need.”
Adding to United’s chances of overcoming the Sky Blues, is their superlative defensive record not only of late, but throughout the campaign. The Reds lead the competition in clean sheets kept, holding their oppositions scoreless on eleven separate occasions, however have also conceded the fewest goals, only beaten 28 times in 25 matches.
In conjunction, Sydney are winless in four home Hyundai A-League matches, failing to score more than one goal during this same period, and, as Amor mentioned, have been juggling AFC Champions League commitments, which have stalled the Sky Blues’ domestic progress.
But Reds defender, Michael Marrone says even if Sydney field a makeshift squad to try and help them cope with playing in Asia, United will still be up against a very strong XI.
“Sydney will be tough, regardless if they put out their best XI or if they rotate some players,” Marrone said. “They’re a very strong side and we’ll have to be on our game to get the three points.
“They haven’t had a lot of (good) results of late, but they’re still capable of scoring and being quite dangerous.
“When we played them (at Coopers Stadium last), they scored a couple of goals against us with the big boys up front, so we’ll have to be careful at the back especially.”
Depending on other results this weekend, the Reds have the potential of becoming the league leaders going into the final round of the season, an outstanding achievement considering the manner in which they started their campaign.
Marrone, however, has stated he and his teammates have remained focused on beating Sydney the entire week, with any thoughts ahead of Saturday’s game well out of their minds.
“All the boys in training this week have been concentrated on playing Sydney and no one has been distracted by anything at all.
“Everything we hear from the coaches is about only looking at the game this week and that’s very much where our minds are (instead of looking ahead at the finals).
“We don’t need any extra motivation to get the three points. It’s very close at the top of the table at the moment and if we want to stay in contention (for the Premiership), we need the three points, regardless of the other results.”
Adelaide United will face Sydney FC in Round 26 of the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 season on Saturday, 2 April at Allianz Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.00pm ACDT.