EXCLUSIVE: Sydney FC utility Brett Emerton believes the Sky Blues have the quality and depth it takes to challenge for the top honours this season.
The harbour-siders currently sit in fourth place on the A-League table following a run of three straight wins, the first time the club have been able to achieve that feat since 2009 when they took out the premiership and championship double.
Despite the club believing they played well below average on Saturday, they were able to score an injury-time winner through debutant Ranko Despotovic to clinch a 2-1 win against Wellington Phoenix.
“It’s great for confidence,” Emerton said.
“We believe we didn’t perform at our best yet I still think it’s a positive that you don’t play really well and come away with a win.
“It obviously keeps the momentum going within the team and sets us up nicely now for the rest of the season.
“The last three-four games we’ve shown a huge commitment from each and every player who’s taken the park. We’re finally getting the rewards for putting in the effort.”
Sydney’s change in fortunes coincided with the return of himself and Alessandro del Piero in to the frame, but Emerton claims consistency is the main key to their current form.
“I think there’s a number of contributing factors,” he said. “We’ve got several players back, such as Pedj Bojic who adds a lot to the team going forward and defensively as well.
“We’ve also been able to field a similar team in the last couple of weeks.
“It’s all about consistency so when you can start building the same team week in week out it does help a lot.”
Bojic will be sidelined on Saturday after earning a red card against Wellington Phoenix.
But Emerton believes Sydney have found strong quality and depth to match it with the top sides this season and push for a first grand final since 2010.
“I think we’ve got the strength and the depth in the squad this year to definitely compete with the top teams in the league and I think we’ll prove that this season,” he said.
“So far I feel the only game this year where we haven’t played particularly well was when we played Brisbane away which was very disappointing but the reaction we’ve had after that has been very good.”
Sydney will be looking to win four successive games in one A-League season for the first time in the club’s history on Saturday when they host Newcastle Jets at the SFS.
But that will be far from an easy task with Newcastle currently in a patch of form of their own, having also won their last three games which leaves them sitting a respectable third on the table.
“We just have to continue to do what we’ve been doing,” Emerton said. “Each week it doesn’t matter who you play you’ve got to show respect.
“The league is so closely matched you can’t take anyone lightly so we won’t be doing that this weekend.
“We need to approach it in the right manner, but in saying that we feel confident that we, especially at home, anyone we come up against we can grab all three points.”