Sydney FC Head Coach Graham Arnold has talked up the defensive qualities of the Sky Blues ahead of their Halloween clash against the Central Coast Mariners at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday (kick off 5:15pm).
Arnold rated centre back Matthew Jurman as his best player after three rounds as he said international marquee Filip Holosko is on track to showcase his form in the coming rounds following a hamstring strain in round two.
“Jurman for me in the first three rounds has been one of our best players,” Arnold said.
“He’s doing exceptionally well and that comes from the experience of Jacques beside him. Jacques does a lot of talking in the game and brings a lot of leadership.
“Overall we’ve worked a lot on defence in preseason as my teams normally do, we’re never at our best in the first six to eight rounds we evolve as the season goes on and we get better as the season goes.
“At the moment I’m happy with about 75% of our defensive play and I’m about 20% happy with our play in possession.
“Against Newcastle and Melbourne City we conceded two shots on goal in 180 minutes and we had something like 60 entries into the opposition penalty box and therefore it shows we’re getting in there easily and now it’s about the decision making when we get in there.
“Filip got a bit disjointed because first round he played, hurt his hamstring, second round he missed and third round he came back in but he’s working exceptionally hard,” he continued.
“He’s showed us the quality he does have and we expect good things from him. It’s just a matter of the foreigners getting used to the A-League. Overall I’m happy with where we’re at.”
Arnold said he’s impressed with the style of football the Mariners are playing at the moment as he target exploiting their wingers lack of defensive capabilities on Saturday in Gosford.
“I’ve got nothing but respect for Central Coast Mariners and their fans,” he said.
“They’re beautiful people and I had a great time up there so there will be nothing but respect from me today for them.
“They’re exciting, great, love watching them play it’s a beautiful proactive style of play and I’m enjoying it immensely.
“It’s important that we stay balanced behind the ball [on Saturday],” he continued.
“When we go forward, we’ve seen that the Mariners wingers don’t defend, they cheat on halfway so we’ve got to make sure we’ve got a plan behind the ball.”
Sydney FC take on the Central Coast Mariners at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday 31 October (kick off 5:15pm). Catch the match live on Fox Sports 4, listen live on ABC Grandstand or follow @SydneyFC on Twitter for updates.
Sydney FC Memberships are still on sale for the 2015/16 season. Click HERE to become part of the Sky Blues family