Arnold clarifies 'criminal' comments

Sydney coach Graham Arnold has defended his post-match comments following Friday’s 2-1 loss to Adelaide saying he never intended to criticise referee Strebre Delovski.

The Sky Blues held on for most of the match with 10-men before falling to a last-gasp penalty to walk away empty handed.

Arnold said it was “criminal” how the match ended, landing himself in hot water with the FFA who cited him under the National Code of Conduct.

With a hefty fine and sideline ban potentially looming a tired looking Arnold faced the media again to explain his comments.

“My whole sincerity, 100 per cent, when I went into that press conference – in saying it was criminal how the game ended – (I) had one thing on my mind," the title-winning coach said.

“And when people assume different things – I have text messages on my telephone of apologies from journalists who wrote it the other way – was, we played for 65 minutes with 10 men, my players worked extremely hard and to concede the way we conceded… it’s not about the penalty…

“To concede not in general play but to concede by a penalty, in my opinion – because apparently I am allowed to have an opinion – it was 50-50 if it was a penalty or not, and referees give them and they don’t. So he gave a penalty.

“You can ask my players I never went into the dressing room and whinged about it wasn’t a penalty or it was. And I had one idea when I went into that press conference and that was: I congratulated Adelaide for winning the game, I congratulated my players for working extremely hard.

"I was frustrated with the loss because I felt that we deserved more. (It) never ever entered my mind of criticising Strebre who, I think, is probably the best referee in the league.

“Never in my mind did I go in there and criticise anyone. So I’m disappointed that you can be publicly bashed and cited publicly on someone assuming that you’ve said certain words in certain ways. And I think that’s wrong.”

Arnold also appeared to appeal for openness in post-match interviews.

“Do you guys like me coming in here and giving one word answers?” he asked the assembled media.

“I’ve always been a person who will fight for what I believe in. I’ll fight for my players, I’ll fight for my club. And I’ve always been a person who’s had an opinion.

“So in my opinion, in my opinion, I think it’s wrong to be cited when people assume what I said.”