Defence still a worry for Arnold

Graham Arnold acknowledges Sydney FC have some issues to iron out in defence but believes their work with the ball is as good as the club has ever produced over their 10 years in the A-League.

The Sky Blues moved up to second on the ladder on Sunday after holding off a fast-finishing Brisbane Roar 5-4 in a thriller at Allianz Stadium.

It’s their sixth win from the last seven matches since the return from the Asian Cup break, scoring an impressive 25 goals in that time but worryingly shipping 14 at the other end.

“We’re playing really good football but defensively we’re talking about tightening things up and it gets down to concentration and switching off,” Arnold said.

“I told the boys in the dressing room, ‘If we’re up 4-1 don’t settle for it and go for 5-1. If it gets to 5-1 go for 6-1'.

“That’s what a top team does and we have to work on that.

“Our attacking play and keeping the ball and the way we’re moving it is outstanding. Tonight was probably as good a game in possession as any Sydney FC supporters have seen the team play in the last 10 years.”

The focal point of that attacking game is marquee man Marc Janko, who scored a hat-trick on his way to breaking the A-League record for scoring in seven successive matches.

Janko, who has 16 for the season to lead the race for the golden boot by four ahead of Wellington’s Nathan Burns, also has the most ever in a single season for the club, surpassing Alessandro del Piero.

Off-contract at the end of the season, re-signing the Austria skipper must be high on the priority list for Arnold.

“There’s no use signing him yet because [we’re] keeping him off contract and he keeps scoring goals,” the Sky Blues boss joked.

“Look, he’s bought into everything we’ve done and we do here. He’s in great shape now, he was out of shape when he came here and it’s taken time.

“It’s not just about the goals he’s scoring but the build-up and the goal he scored in general play was great by us.

“The start of the year Marc was starved of the quality of service he needed … he values the team importance more than the individual performance and never did he think about the record before the game.”

Reports emerged over the weekend Janko had a clause in his contract that would automatically trigger a second season if he got to 15 goals but that was denied by the club on Sunday.

The Sky Blues are on home soil again on Friday night against Melbourne City, with Arnold revealing defender Jacques Faty was likely to return after missing three games with a hamstring injury.