Arnie slams negative perception of Sky Blues

Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold has slammed ‘completely wrong’ perceptions of his team being dour and defensive-minded after his side had the better of Friday’s thrilling 2-2 draw with Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium.

The Reds hit the lead twice but on both occasions the Sky Blues were able to erase the deficits in a frenetic first half, which produced all four goals.

The visitors got right on top after the main break and never stopped chasing the win, attacking and running fervently with style till the final whistle.

Reds, Sky Blues in thrilling draw at Coopers Stadium

There was nothing boring or conservative about Sydney’s approach, but for Arnold it wasn’t markedly different to previous weeks.

“There’s never been a bus parked,” said Arnold, who earlier this week suggested prioritising playing entertaining football ahead of winning is ‘a load of crap’.

“It’s all perception – and the perception is completely wrong.

“My focus is always to win and I want to play a good style.

“Sometimes you don’t have a good day and you’ve still got to be capable of winning that day.

Sydney FC midfielder Milos Ninkovic fights for the ball with Reds youngster Stefan Mauk.

“Against Melbourne Victory and against (Western Sydney) Wanderers away from home, we set our defensive line 10m further back than normal to minimise space behind us because that’s their (those opponents)strength.

“It’s all perception and people run with that … what can I do about it?”

After setting the early-season pace, the Blues have wobbled in recent weeks but Friday’s sharing of the points at least allowed them to avert a third successive defeat.

Despite being winless for almost a month, Arnold believes his side is in a positive space.

“In 17 games, we’ve had, in my view, 15 good days,” he said.

“Against Brisbane (3-1 loss a week ago), we had a bad last 20 minutes where we opened up too much and they hit us on the counterattack.

“The rest of the time we’ve played exceptionally well. We’ve got a lot of depth and I’m pleased with the way we’re playing.

“We have controlled nearly every game this season in the opponent’s half.”

Arnold concedes Sydney are far from the finished deal at the moment,lamenting sluggish starts in recent weeks which proved costly twice in as many weeks – and almost did again at Hindmarsh when Sergio Cirio goaled in the second minute.

“What is a concern is that three games in a row we’ve started very slow,” Arnold said.

“(Against) Brisbane we conceded in the eighth minute, tonight we conceded, against Melbourne Victory (a fortnight ago), Besart Berisha had a one-on-one that he missed in the first 3-4 minutes.

“We cannot afford to start that slow and give goals away, then have to chase the game.”