Sydney FC Head Coach Graham Arnold told reporters Thursday he is ‘completely focused’ on the Sky Blues’ Grand Final run, saying he doesn’t want to be drawn into a verbal battle against wily tactician Graham Arnold so close to Sydney FC’s most important game in five years.
Speaking outside Sydney FC’s training facilities near Macquarie University, Arnold said he had no time to engage in what he dubbed, ‘a transparent ploy to distract players and coaching staff.’
“With the Grand Final only one victory away, the boys and I are completely focused on the task at hand. For Graham to come out in the media and make the comments he’s made smacks of desperation, even insecurity.”
Arnold’s defiant dismissal comes after talkative coach Graham Arnold remarked that Sydney FC would be ‘dreading’ playing their semi-final match at home ground Allianz Stadium, a venue which yielded mixed results for the Sky Blues during the regular season.
“With that home record I would’ve hoped to come third!” he joked to journalists outside Sydney’s ‘Sky Blue Ball’ gala awards night on Tuesday. “Their home form has been inconsistent all season, so to be playing such an important game at home would have to be weighing on his mind and his players’.
“Let’s not take anything away from Sydney FC, they did well to come second after their form in earlier seasons. But it’d be fair to say in the back of their minds they’d be thinking about how their home form lost them the Premiership to Melbourne Victory, something which would rankle them even more than if they lost it to the team at the little stadium out west.”
Arnold laughed off Arnold’s comments on Thursday, saying the disappointing nature of their home results have only galvanised his squad. Arnold, however, couldn’t resist highlighting instances where Arnold’s mindgames have backfired in the past.
“Let’s not forget Graham’s inspired chatter against Josep Gombau and Adelaide United not so long ago, even though he’s apparently chosen to. He opens his mouth against a team which has consistently spanked his squad over the last three years, as though words would somehow undermine Adelaide’s confidence against Sydney FC. We all remember how that match-up ended, don’t we?
“If I were Graham, I would focus more on preparing for match-day and not making sure everyone sees my sparkling wit.”
Sydney FC face off against Wellington Phoenix, Adelaide United or Melbourne City on May 9.