Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold wants his in-form team to finish the current A-League season as the greatest Sky Blues outfit of all time, even if they fail to win any silverware.
Speaking after his side cruised to a 3-0 win over Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Friday night, Arnold said he had set his side a number of team-oriented targets to achieve before the regular season comes to a close in two weeks.
Strangely those targets do not include winning the A-League premiership or championship despite the Sky Blues being nicely positioned to challenge for both.
Sydney moved to second on the table behind Melbourne Victory on goal difference, but Arnold is not thinking about the prizes on offer for his side over the next two months.
“I’ve set targets and I’ve set goals to the team, but it’s got nothing to do with finishing first, second or third,” Arnold said.
“I want this team to create history at Sydney FC and we’ve already done that with the goals that we’ve scored this year. The most was 41, we’re now 46.
“[I want] 10 clean sheets and tonight was our ninth and [we want] to try and beat the best ever total points which is 48. If we can do that, we’ll be the best team Sydney FC has ever had and then wherever we finish, we finish.”
Arnold was delighted with his side’s dominant performance against Perth, revealing post-match he was concerned his players were too distracted by the penalties handed out to Glory for breaching the salary cap earlier on Friday.
“My players were talking about it at our pre-match meal and I had to refocus them and pretty much tell them it’s got nothing to with us,” Arnold said.
“I thought tonight was a very, very good performance from us. We created a lot of chances and what I’m very happy about of late is we’re creating our own chances and we’re not relying on mistakes from the opposition to score goals.
“We’re doing everything ourselves with good combination play and good penetration and some great finishing.”
The win took Sydney’s unbeaten streak on the road to 12, including 10 wins, and Arnold said that was a reflection of the effectiveness of his team’s routine preparation for all games in recent times.
“We try not to change anything for any game – we even stay in a hotel in Sydney before home games to create the same routine for the players on match day,” Arnold said.
“For me it doesn’t matter if we play at home or away, we always try to play the same way and expose weaknesses in the opposition and nullify their strengths.
“I’ve always got confidence in this group of boys that on our day we can beat anyone so whether we are away or not, it doesn’t matter.”
Sydney will regain Shane Smeltz from suspension for next Friday’s clash with the Newcastle Jets and could also welcome Mickael Tavares (groin) back into the fold.
Arnold was hopeful Terry Antonis would recover from a knee injury in time for the first week of the finals.comments