Sydney FC coach Frank Farina has criticised his team’s lack of fight a few times this season but he’s confident they’ll rise to the occasion.
If his players can’t fire up for Saturday’s derby against Western Sydney, Sky Blues coach Frank Farina admits he’ll be very worried.
But the embattled mentor has no doubt his charges will rise to the occasion at Allianz Stadium with Sydney barely hanging on to a finals spot with only six games remaining.
Farina, who’s job is on the line should Sydney fail to secure a top-four finish, has slammed his players lack of fight numerous times this season.
Sydney slumped to their 11th loss last week – more defeats than any other team – to continue their rollercoaster campaign.
They face an incredibly difficult run into the finals, meeting top-placed Brisbane next week followed by clashes against a red-hot Adelaide and an always dangerous Melbourne Victory.
But Farina insists he hasn’t needed to address any mental demons among his playing group and says he’s not at all worried they won’t put up a fight on Saturday.
“It would be a concern (if they didn’t show some fight) but that’s not even on my radar at the moment because I know they’ll turn up,” he said.
“The message hasn’t needed to be said.
“Our leadership group has sat down every week and discussed games coming up and the mentality of the group is very good at the moment so it hasn’t needed any real special message from me to make them realise the importance of this game.”
Sydney have lost both matches against the Wanderers this campaign.
Skipper Alessandro Del Piero, the only Sky Blues player to have scored in the derby netting twice last season, has played in much more heated derbies during his time with Italian club Juventus.
Asked what his advice to the younger players in the group was ahead of Saturday’s clash, he said: “Run”.
“Run and play with heart. This is what I tell them and not to think a lot about what’s happening around them.
“The derby has a different feeling around us and inside us for sure.
“But in terms of points it’s just three points like any other game.”
The Wanderers had an unusually lacklustre display last week, going down 2-0 to struggling Newcastle, as playing three games in a week appeared to take its toll.
And Del Piero has his fingers crossed for a repeat performance.
“I hope it continues,” he said.
“Just until Sunday, and then they can play very good and win all their games.
“I’m joking but it’s normal because they play in the Asian Champions League and playing three games in a week is difficult.
“But we don’t expect a flat Wanderers. We expect a very tough team.”