Sydney FC Head Coach Graham Arnold is travelling to Wellington confident of a result as he believes the added pressure of leading the table will tell on the Phoenix.
Arnold labelled Sunday’s clash as a big game as he said the squad have more than bounced back, after their run of nine matches undefeated came to a halt last Sunday to Melbourne City at Allianz Stadium.
“Every game from now on is about pressure,” he said.
“It’s about dealing with the situation. The Phoenix players will probably sitting at home in front of the television barracking for the Mariners [tonight] and tomorrow night they’ll be barracking for the Wanderers. That’s the type of added pressure that sitting on top brings.
“I’ve seen the response at training this week. I gave them the weekend off and on Monday the players were still hurting from the loss,” he continued.
“No one dies from a loss, it’s what you take out of it and learn from it and moving forward straight after it. The boys have trained really well.
“Wellington is a big game, they obviously have had a fantastic season up to now and Ernie is doing a fantastic job over there and we’ve had a very good season to now so now it comes down to who can handle the pressure the most.”
With the Sky Blues five remaining games pitting them against the Phoenix twice, plus other top four teams in the Glory and Adelaide, Arnold said the run into the finals series will be a challenge as he confirmed he has an almost complete squad to choose from.
“We’re going to find out where we’re at, at the end of these five weeks,” he said.
“That’s a challenge what we’ve dealt playing Wellington in the last five games twice. Wellington has always been a good hunting ground for myself and I enjoy going there.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re tactically ready,” he continued.
“Two very important players for each team [are out]. We both lose a quality player but both squads have quality players to come in.
“Apart from Marc, everybody is ready to go. Jacques is available and he’s trained exceptionally well the last few weeks and he’s in the squad. I’m very happy with the experience that we have in the squad, they’re looking forward to the weekend.”
Sydney FC travel to take on the Wellington Phoenix on Sunday (kick off 3pm AEDT) before returning to Allianz Stadium to face Adelaide United in a week’s time. Purchase tickets today or become a Member and ensure you don’t miss a moment of action this season.
Sydney FC’s next home game is against Adelaide United on Saturday 4th April at Allianz Stadium (kick off 7.30pm). Purchase tickets today or become a Member and ensure you don’t miss a moment of Hyundai A-League action by heading to www.ticketek.com.au/sydneyfc