Brandon O'Neill has sounded a warning to Sydney FC's Hyundai A-League title challengers following an impressive win over Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday night.
The Sky Blues cruised to a 3-1 win at Allianz Stadium with Polish star Adrian Mierzejewski netting a classy brace for Graham Arnold's side.
And O'Neill, who was one of Sydney's best, believes a tactical shift from opposition sides is actually bringing the best out of the Sky Blues' attack.
“Teams are pushing higher up now and trying to press me and Joshy [Brillante] and get on the ball,” O'Neill told Fox Sports.
“But it's actually really good – it’s making me and Joshy think quicker, making sure our first touch is right and it's making us better players.
“If someone is up our backside we need to know where Ninko is and where Adrian is before the ball is played.
“If we keep doing that and we keep getting it to Aido, Ninko, Bobô and Brosquey, we'll continue to hurt teams,” said O’Neill.
O'Neill and Brillante have formed the base of the formidable Sydney FC midfield for the past two seasons.
And the addition of Mierzejewski has only strengthened the Sky Blues' engine room.
“We win it and we look up and more often than not if Aido or Ninko are free, we like to hit the pockets, hit the spaces and let them do their thing,” revealed O'Neill.
“They can open up teams at will.
“You see in some games that their fullbacks or defensive midfielders come in and block those pockets so we know we have to go wide and use the outside areas.
“In the middle of the park you have to make a quick decision and it has to be right.”
Sydney FC's 16th win of the season was achieved in sodden conditions at Allianz Stadium with Bobo adding a late goal to Mierzejewski's brace.
“I say this a lot, but it is a joy to play in this team,” grinned O'Neill.
“It's a joy on a night like this to get down, get dirty, me and Joshy sliding into tackles, getting water up our nose – it’s great!
“Me and Joshy love it!”
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