Sydney FC are looking at playing faster as they try to push further ahead of A-league mid-table rivals Adelaide United on Saturday.
Erratic Sydney FC are looking to quicken their tempo for a crucial mid-table A-League home clash with Adelaide United on Saturday.
Just one point and position separates fifth-placed Sydney (22 points) from Adelaide (21), with only four competition points between fourth and ninth spots.
The Sky Blues have won just one of their past seven games and a loss at Allianz Stadium would result in them losing three successive matches at home for the first time in their history.
Adelaide had a seven-match unbeaten streak snapped last week.
Sydney’s last two games, both in Melbourne, provided a microcosm of their fluctuating season.
After an impressive 5-0 belting of the Victory, Sydney returned to the Victorian capital where they lost 2-1 to a resurgent but bottom-placed Heart.
“I think we weren’t smart moving the ball, I think we moved the ball too slow,” Sydney defender Seb Ryall said.
“We want to focus on the style we’re playing, and we’ve worked on it this week, about moving the ball faster.”
With their Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero drifting in and out of games, Ryall revealed the Sky Blues had been working on trying to get their talismanic striker more involved.
“He’s our playmaker and sometimes we can’t get the ball to him, but then he’ll have two players on him, which will free up space for someone else,” Ryall said.
“It’s just a matter of knowing when to use him and when to try and use the space in other parts of the field.”
Sydney coach Frank Farina will decide on Saturday whether to start new signing – imposing Socceroos central defender Sasa Ognenovski.
The towering centre back has already made a big impression on his new teammates.
“It’s great for the team – he’s a leader, he’s got a big presence on the field,” Ryall said.
Ryall was impressed by Adelaide, who have won just one of their last nine away games, though that was at league-leaders Brisbane.
“They’ve been looking good in the last five or six matches, we expect it to be very tough,” Ryall said.
“They have improved a lot under (coach Josep) Gombau.
“As expected when a new coach comes in, it’s going to take a little while to adapt to the style he wants to play and they look like they are doing that now.”
Adelaide have lost striker Ryan Griffiths to injury, but Socceroo defender Michael Zullo is fit again.
Veteran Sydney striker Richard Garcia will miss the match with an ankle injury.