Graham Arnold is optimistic Sydney FC can reverse last season’s poor results at home ahead of their Round One clash with Melbourne City at Allianz Stadium.
The Sky Blues claimed only four wins from 13 matches on home turf last campaign, but were the league’s best on the road with 10 wins from 14 matches.
Arnold employed the unusual tactic of having the squad stay in a hotel the night before home matches late in the season to mixed success, but he confirmed he'll persist with it.
“It is something we addressed in January by staying in hotels before home games,” Arnold told FourFourTwo.
“Sydney is a big city and I felt it was not helping players prepare for games properly, so we’ll be doing that again.
“But in saying that when Allianz has a good boisterous crowd behind us including the wonderful Cove, Allianz is a daunting place for any team to come.”
Arnold’s comments come as the Sydney coach was forced to hose down speculation he was in line for a move to Europe and one of the club’s he formerly played for during eight years in The Netherlands and Belgium.
The 52-year-old, who was appointed Sydney coach in May 2014 on a three-year deal, played for Roda JC and NAC Breda in The Netherlands and Belgian outfits Liege and Charleroi.
“Agents call all the time and they always ask what your contract situation is and where you’re at,” Arnold told the club’s website.
“But I’m a Sydney FC coach, I’m there Saturday night and I’m looking forward to the Melbourne City game and that’s all it is.”
Sydney will be hoping for a strong crowd on Saturday, having averaged 17,406 per home game last term.
The Sky Blues enjoyed good numbers when they turned around their form after the Asian Cup in January. Sydney won 11 of their last 14 matches before the Grand Final, to storm into the decider.
Arnold said the key to that was having a fit squad, a luxury which Sydney are currently afforded.
“It’s simple, having 23 players fighting for positions, where for eight weeks last season we only had 14 players due to the major injuries we had,” he told FourFourTwo.
Arnold insisted the 3-0 Grand Final defeat to Melbourne Victory wasn’t being used as motivation.
“Not really, we know we had a successful season and it’s how you define the word success,” he said.
“We created history at Sydney FC getting the most points ever with 50 points and scoring the most goals so one bad day doesn’t ruin a very good season.
“Asian Champions League was our major goal in year one and we achieved that.”
As for his ambition for this term, he added: “Yes (the Grand Final) and to reach the last 16 of the Asian Champions League.”comments