Sydney FC coach Frank Farina insists his team will perform in their A-League season opener despite finishing their preseason campaign with four successive defeats.
The Sky Blues ended their preparations for the new campaign with a 3-0 loss to Perth Glory on Sunday, which raised questions over their readiness for their opener at home against Newcastle Jets on October 11.
The defeat left the club still searching for their first win since returning from their six-game tour of Italy in late August and have since conceded 10 goals and scored just two in their final four friendly games.
However, Farina shrugged off concerns regarding their form and said their gruelling preparations affected the players in recent matches.
”Players are probably a little bit flat from a long preseason but, as I said, the important thing is from when we start,” Farina said. ”Nobody remembers preseason results. It’s always nice to go in with a bit of momentum but the season is what is important.”
Sydney’s coaching staff prioritised solving their defensive woes from last season and signed four new defenders during the break, but Farina is disappointed with the manner in which his team leaked goals in recent friendlies.
He lamented individual errors in their 4-1 defeat against Brisbane and Sunday’s loss to Perth but hopes those mistakes served as lessons for his new-look back line.
”Three or four of them were schoolboy errors, bad mistakes, that’s not structural,” Farina said. ”It’s decision-making, decision-making more than anything.
”Everyone’s going to make mistakes at some stage but, as I said, you hope to get them out of the way early.”
Captain and marquee player Alessandro Del Piero played his first game since returning from Italy and emerged unscathed after lasting the full 90 minutes against the Glory.
The Italian showed a few moments of brilliance, including a classy long-range strike late in the first half, in his new role leading Sydney’s attack but otherwise struggled to break through Perth’s defence.
Del Piero is expected to start against the Jets and Farina says he is close to finalising his starting line-up. Midfielders Terry Antonis and Peter Triantis are the only players ruled out through injury at this stage. Goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic is in doubt due to a ligament injury in his foot and will have scans on Monday evening.
Farina has not yet confirmed his first-choice goalkeeper for the season but his decision could be made for him should Janjetovic be forced to withdraw, paving the way for Ivan Necevski to start between the posts for the second successive season.
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