Sydney FC Head Coach Graham Arnold has promised a strong showing in Wednesday night’s AFC Champions League clash against Kashima Antlers, stating that the real Sydney FC will be on show at Sydney Football Stadium.
After tasting defeat for only the second time in two seasons on Saturday, Arnold said the squad’s mental strength would pay dividends in the continental competition against the Japanese side currently leading Group H.
“We have such a high belief in what we do and the way we do it that I know we’ll see the real Sydney FC tomorrow night,” Arnold said.
“We’re at home, we’re at the Fortress and we’ve got an outstanding record there. We’ve got to make it intimidating for them and make sure that we are ready from the first minute and we will be.
“The belief is huge in this group, we just move on, you can’ dwell on things [like Saturday’s result].
“What we can do a lot about is tomorrow night and for the rest of the season, five games in the A-League and another six games in the ACL to get past the last 16 and that’s what we’re aiming for.
“We’ve got a healthy group of players and I’m excited for the next couple of months.”
Arnold confirmed Michael Zullo would return for the clash in an otherwise fit side, as he re-affirmed his belief in overcoming the Antlers, with the Sky Blues’ minimal travel recently playing in their favour.
“We’ve got nearly everyone 100% fit, we haven’t had to travel and that helps a lot,” he said.
“We haven’t had an interstate domestic flight as well as any international flights. In terms of travel they’ve had to fly here, they had a game on Saturday, then they’ve got to fly back and then we’ve got them again on Tuesday.
“For now we’ve got that advantage of one less flight. The boys have trained exceptionally well the last two days and they’re fit, healthy and ready to go.
“Zullo 100% will play, he probably could have played on the weekend. Ninkovic is 95% ready to play, it was just a cramp.
“He [Ninkovic] will have up until the last minute to prove his fitness but other than that everyone is training. There’s a real freshness and sharpness with the cooler weather as well, the boys are in really good shape.
“I sent Phil Moss over there to watch them play and he came back with a full analysis, obviously they’re a very good side and it’s going to be a good challenge, a good test,” Arnold continued.
“We’ve looked at their strengths and weaknesses, and we’ve worked on the right gameplan to win the game and we will win the game.”
Sydney FC take on Kashima Antlers in their third AFC Champions League clash in Group H on Wednesday night at Sydney Football Stadium (kick off 7:30pm AEDT). Be there to back your Sky Blue in this massive continental encounter.
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