A-League leaders Perth Glory are in the Harbour City tonight to face an undefeated and understrength Sydney FC, who have Ali Abbas joining Corey Gameiro on the long-term injury list.
Sky Blues skipper Alex Brosque says the team has yet to produce their best form of the season with international breaks and bad luck conspiring to deny his team a consistent line up.
“We’ve rarely fielded the same starting 11 more than two weeks in a row which is very difficult,” Brosque said.
“I think we have been very (much) disrupted with a few injuries, players missing a week or two here, players going away on national team duty.
Even though the team has suffered in recent weeks with players coming in and out of the squad the harbour-siders remain unbeaten after eight rounds of A- League action.
And Brosque hopes the run continues.
“We’re very happy – it’s probably the best start we could have imagined to the league,” he said.
“(But) I think we’ve got a lot to improve on in terms of where we want to be as a team.
“It would be nice to get everything clicking and be where we want to be probably in the latter stages of the year when it means most.
“In the meantime, if we can keep winning and picking up results and stay undefeated for as long as possible then we are heading in a good direction.”
While coach of Sydney FC Graham Arnold did not set any short term goals relating to the start of the season, Brosque knew that some good results against some tough opposition would pave the way for the Sky Blues to assert themselves in the league.
“We’ve got goals that Arnie (Graham Arnold) set out for us in terms of clean sheets and goals and things like that but this was for whole season,” Brosque added.
“To be honest because of that hard start that we had - Melbourne City with all the hype surrounding them in round one, the Wanderers in round two, Brisbane and then the Mariners – I personally thought that if we could have 10 points from the first four games that we’d be flying and probably hard to catch.
“We were still sitting third or fourth after those four rounds and did have 10 points. It sort of shows there is a little bit of a gap between the top half of the table and the bottom.
“We’ve seen in the A- League how quick things can change, however, and how hard it is to maintain that through the season. Hopefully we can continue it because we are doing well so far.”
Brosque revealed that the victory against Melbourne City, where International striker Marc Janko scored two goals – one which was a header – may have been a turning point.
“I think what we needed to do and I said it a couple of weeks ago was just to use him (Janko) a bit more effectively,” Brosque said.
“Obviously we know what sort of player he is, we know what our game plan is, but is at the end of the day he is a player that needs good service, good aerial service, and we probably weren’t getting him enough of that in matches .
“In the game (against City) he had a few chances that we got him on the end of and we’ve been working a lot more towards that.
“I think you’ll probably see that he’ll be getting a lot more chances with his head because we know how good he is and that comes down to the rest of us.”
Brosque added: “The more we get to know him, and the more balls we get to him, the better we’ll be as a team.”
After spending five seasons with Sydney FC which included a Championship in 2010, a career overseas beckoned.
Brosque said his time in Japan with Shimizu S Pulse proved the most memorable.
“It was different, it was something that I needed, I saw it as a challenge to experience a different culture,” he said.
“You’re obviously not used to the language and living away from home and also a new league. I think many would say that the J league when you compare it to the A-league is still a step up.
“So it was good for me to test myself to see whether I could cut it, wether I could make it, and see how I go.
“I really enjoyed my time and spent nearly two seasons there.
“I played in a different role, more of an attacking midfield role, and it changed my game – sharpened me up.
“It made me see and think about football out on the pitch in a different way and from there I made a few national team appearances, so it was a really enjoyable period of my career.”
At 31 years of age Brosque, who has capped 21 times for his country, is under no illusions about his Socceroos career.
The Ange Postecoglou era is all about youth and the attacker says is happy to cheer on the Aussie team from the sidelines.
“Personally when I came back I thought that those times where behind me,” he said.
“I think Ange (Postecoglou) has come in and picked a whole new generation of players. A younger squad mixed in with the experience of Timmy (Cahill) and Bresh (Mark Bresciano).
“Other than that it’s a very young squad I think he’s got his style that he wants to mould the players into playing.
“I think he’s going to continue with that and push with those boys. The way they performed in the last World Cup shows some good signs for the years ahead.
“They’ve got a couple of years now before the next World Cup to prepare. “
Brosque added: “I guess I’ll support the boys like everyone else now. “
Con Stamocostas is an Australian football writer. Check out Episode Three of his latest A- League Football Snobcast with co-host Rob Toddler.comments