Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold has told his team to imagine a very different kind of derby when they line up against FFA cup foes Sydney United tonight.
Arnold has the stronger team on paper but is urging mental fortitude from his men in the Round of 16 cup tie.
The title-winning coach has picked their A-League crosstown rivals as the perfect gee-up.
“We’ve got to turn up with a perfect attitude,” Arnold told sydneyfc.com
“I’ve told them to prepare like it’s the Western Sydney Wanderers Round 2 at Allianz Stadium.
“It’s an important game for the club and again for me it’s an interesting game to see the character and mentality of some of my players.
“All the ducks won’t be in one row because it’s a synthetic field, different balls than what we’re used to and it’s going to take a bit of mental toughness to remove those small obstacles.”
Sydney have enjoyed a strong pre-season, racking up eight wins and a draw in 10 games, ahead of their 2014/15 campaign.
Arnold, who has been tasked with returning the Sky Blues to their glory days, said he was happy with the team structurally and it was now a matter of fine tuning.
“I hope we win eight out of the 10 A-League games because there are no trophies for pre-season,” he added.
“The most important thing is that we’re consistent, turn up with the right attitude to please our fans and our supporters, and do the club proud and that’s what I demand every game.”
Tonight’s match throws up plenty of sub-plots with Arnold taking on the club where he built his legend, and United coach Mark Rudan plotting the downfall of the club he skippered.
“I’m very grateful for the time I had out at Sydney Croatia and the wonderful people I met during my time out there,” Arnold said.
“Football is football though. It's business and the most important thing on my mind at the moment is Sydney FC.”
Tonight’s match kicks off at 7:30pm and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports with live crosses to the other matches of the round.comments