Frank Farina has spoken out on the controversy threatening to rip Sydney FC apart after he sparked a fan and player revolt at the weekend - and insisted: "I'm not clueless..."
At the start of Saturday night's 3-0 loss to Adelaide United, Sydney's hardcore fanbase The Cove held up a banner demanding Farina's sacking and another in Russian calling for the heads of chairman Scott Barlow and CEO Tony Pignata.
When security took the banner down and ejected a female fan - who was a former Sydney FC staff member and also the wife of the Cove capo - confiscating her club membership, a large part of The Cove staged a walkout in solidarity and protested outside the stadium.
The crisis escalated yesterday when it was revealed Nick Carle and Matt Thompson had been sent home from training on Monday morning and ordered to train instead with the National Youth League squad.
Tonight Farina acknowledged the anger surrounding the club at the moment and explain his decisions.
"I thought it would be useful to say a few things about them, as I find there is never really the chance to do so in the ‘sound bite’ interviews on TV after the game," he wrote in his blog.
"I don’t have a problem whatsoever in fans making their views known...I learned long ago that managing a football team is not a popularity contest."
He hailed Sydney FC administration as one of the most professional institutions he had ever worked in, and insisted his work had not been interfered with.
"We have quality training facilities; a full-time staff; and players are paid a good salary on time," he said. "Other than signing-off on contracts, neither the Board nor Tony dabble in playing decisions. "
But he denied he had signed the majority of the current players, as has been claimed.
"That is not precisely accurate, not least because of pre-existing contract conditions of individuals," he said." I will not say anything further on this because they are private contractual issues but, suffice to say, no-one who has made this claim has checked the facts with me first."
He also defended the switch to have Carle playing in a deeper defensive midfield role instead of the attacking midfield position where he made his name.
Carle's second half decision to switch roles with Thompson prompted Farina to banish the pair to the youth training ranks, earning the wrath of Professional Footballers Australia today.
The players' union branded that move a breach of contract and threatened legal action against the club - which could also lead to a points deduction and fines - unless they remedied the situation within 24 hours.
But Farina added: "No-one has asked me the rationale behind some of the decisions I take.
"I have read that, even though I played more than 400 first class domestic league games, played more Cup games, played for national teams from when I was 17-31 years of age, won four championships in two countries, several Cup championships, played in the equivalent of the Champions League and the Europa League, was leading goalscorer three times in two countries, won player of the year twice in Australia (now the Johnny Warren Medal) and once in Belgium, coached around 275 games including a third place for Australia in the Confederations Cup, and am currently completing my Pro-Licence, I am 'clueless' (that's being polite).
"You might disagree with what I do, but one thing I’m not is 'clueless' when it comes to football.
"I’m happy to talk about what we’re trying to do – not that anyone has actually asked. For example: what I’m looking for in the seemingly defensive midfield position is a deep-lying playmaker who can use space and time on the ball to create moves in multiple ways, not just attacks on goals. Think Pirlo, Xavi, Paul Scholes.
"With Alessandro del Piero in the side as the club’s marquee player, we don’t need a second number 10. That’s my opinion."