Sydney FC Head Coach Graham Arnold has clarified his comments made at the weekend in the wake of Friday night’s clash against Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium.
Arnold believes his post-match words were misconstrued as he reiterated his view during Thursday’s press conference at Macquarie University Sports Fields ahead of Saturday’s clash against the Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium.
“I’ve always been a person that will fight for what I believe in, I will fight for my players, I will fight for my club and I’ve always been a person that’s had an opinion,” Arnold said.
“So in my opinion, I think it’s wrong to be cited when people assume what I said. My whole sincerity, 100 per cent, when I went into that press conference, and saying it was “criminal” how the game ended, I had one thing on my mind and people assume different things.
“I had one idea when I went in that press conference and that was I congratulated Adelaide for winning the game, I congratulated my players for working extremely hard and I was frustrated with the loss because I felt that we deserved more.
"We played for 65 minutes with 10 men. My players worked extremely hard and to concede the way we conceded, it's not about the penalty.
"To concede not in general play, but to concede by a penalty, which in my opinion was 50-50 whether it was a penalty or not. Referees either give them or they don't and he gave the penalty.
“Never ever did it enter my mind of criticising Strebre who I think is probably the best referee in the league. Never in my mind did I go in there and criticise anyone.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s round 11 encounter, Arnold said he always enjoys trips to Wellington where he holds an enviable record of only one defeat out of the seven away matches that he’s managed (six wins, one draw).
“It’s an easy trip in my view, across the ditch, and we’re looking forward to the game,” he said.
“The players are responding well, their disappointment from last Friday’s game is gone. Everyone is capable of beating everyone so we have to be on our best performance on Saturday night and be ready for a very strong Wellington team at home.
“My experiences of going to Wellington have always been good, I think I’ve lost the one game over there going every time.
“It’s good, the conditions are always good, it’s a beautiful stadium and the surface is always good to play on at Westpac and it’s always a friendly atmosphere. You can go across there with no real pressure and enjoy the occasion.”
Sydney FC take on the Wellington Phoenix away from home on Saturday 19 December (kick off 5:15pm AEDT). Catch the game live on Fox Sports 4, listen live on ABC Grandstand or follow @SydneyFC on Twitter for updates.
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