Sydney FC seeks revenge for cup final loss to City
FOOTBALL: Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold says tomorrow night's top-of-the-table clash is not a grand final preview but his players will still be at their best against Melbourne City at ANZ Stadium.
The A-League leader was beaten for the first time this season in all competitions in a 1-0 defeat to second-placed City in the FFA Cup final.
Arnold said his players did not perform to the best of their ability in the final but expected more as the Sky Blues looked to extend their run of unbeaten league games to 10.
"I expect our performance will be the best of the season,” he said.
"Our final pass wasn't at the level it should have been (in the FFA Cup final).
"We played a different style that game. It was a one-off final.
"We went for it more and we left the game a little bit more open than what we normally would.”
Melbourne City has been criticised for its physical approach to the cup game, especially Luke Brattan's challenge on Michael Zullo, which left the former City defender still sporting a bruise a week after the game.
Arnold said he welcomed another hard game but warned his players would not be taking a backward step.
"If that's what it's got to be, it's got to be,” he said.
"It was feisty at times, but that's football.
"When you go on the pitch, it's about dominating and owning every blade of grass on the field.”
A win over City would give Sydney FC a nine-point buffer after 10 games but despite his team's unbeaten start, Arnold said he had some tough decisions to make regarding the make-up of his squad.
"I've got some good headaches and some decisions to make,” he said.
"I was so proud of the boys who came in last week who hadn't played for quite a while. Everyone's performing at the moment.”
City's Danish midfielder Michael Jakobsen was confident of getting a similar result to the cup final tonight but expected Sydney to come out strong.
"I think it's going to be tougher,” he said.
"They want revenge after the defeat of course. They're at home so they are going to come out 100 miles an hour.
"It's going to be a very tough match but I'm looking forward to it. I think we need to step up and play an even better game than we did in the cup final.
"We believe in ourselves and in the way we play. We're going to give them a hard time again and we'll do everything we can to get the win.”