Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold wants his senior statesmen to take charge. Picture: AAP Image/David Moir
Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold wants his senior statesmen to take charge. Picture: AAP Image/David Moir

Arnie’s plea to stop sluggish starts

SYDNEY FC coach Graham Arnold has called on his senior players to banish the inertia of his side's start to games this season.

As the Sky Blues prepare to host Perth Glory on Friday night, Arnold said the sluggish opening to games had been a focus of training - but warned that a coach could only prepare his team so far.

Sydney aim to go top of the table, at least for 24 hours, and will be bolstered by the return to fitness of Polish winger Adrian Mierzejewski. But Arnold reiterated that a good start is crucial.

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"We have addressed it, speaking to some of the senior players," he said.

Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold wants his senior statesmen to take charge. Picture: AAP Image/David Moir
Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold wants his senior statesmen to take charge. Picture: AAP Image/David Moir

"When they come back into the dressing room from warm-up to kick-off is a good 17 or 18 minutes so we need to do something in between that. It's mainly for the senior boys to drive the start of the game, and make sure that when we're on the pitch we're ready to go.

"It's about being refocused and ready, with a lot of communication early in the game to keep players switched on. Once they cross the white line they're out of my control and its up to the senior boys to step up. They will."

Adrian Mierzejewski is in line for a call up. Picture: Getty Images
Adrian Mierzejewski is in line for a call up. Picture: Getty Images

Arnold said he was weighing up whether to include Mierzejewski from the start, after David Carney's strong performance in last Saturday's derby.

"He's back in and 100 per cent fit," Arnold said of Mierzejewski. "I have to decide in the next 24 hours whether he starts or comes off the bench. He's trained enormously well this week, so he's available.

"We have a top medical team that have worked around the clock with him. He trained the house down yesterday."


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