Don’t panic! Arnie calm after Magpie mauling

Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold insists he got just what he wanted out of Tuesday night’s 4-0 defeat to English Premier League club Newcastle United in Dunedin.

The Sky Blues were made to pay for a couple of sloppy defensive errors with the EPL club cashing in to ensure the emphatic scoreline.

But Arnold wasn’t surprised his troops showed signs of ring-rust, with the majority of them just a month into their pre-season schedule.

He says the benefits of the clash far outweigh any negativity surrounding the heavy defeat.

“It was a game I was quite pleased with, maybe the scoreline doesn’t show that but I thought our structures were good,” Arnold said after the squad headed to Wellington on Wednesday.

“We played with good discipline, the individual mistakes hurt us during the game but overall it was a very good workout.

“It gave us an opportunity to get up close and personal with a Premier League club and, especially for the young players, to see what they have to do to try and get to the top level.

“It was a good hit-out, we’re early in the pre-season and just six weeks into the job. I saw a lot of progression and I’m very happy with it.”

The side had a light recovery session in Wellington on Wednesday as they switch their focus to a clash with West Ham on Saturday.

Striker Shane Smeltz, who missed the Newcastle clash as he recovers from a calf injury, is expected to get some game-time against the Hammers.

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