Graham Arnold has slammed critics of Sydney FC’s apparent defensive tactics, declaring Australian football in general needs to get back its winning mentality.
The Sky Blues boss has come in for criticism in some circles recently for his side’s pragmatic approach in the Hyundai A-League.
Melbourne Victory boss Kevin Muscat was particularly vocal after the Big Blue on Australia Day, while Sydney also took a defensive approach into their late win in the Sydney derby.
But Arnold was on the front foot on Thursday, making no apologies for his ‘results-over-entertainment philosophy and insisting he won’t be changing his methods.
"Winning [is the most important]. That's a load of crap…entertaining,” said Arnold when asked what was the most important thing as a coach.
“Tell me one coach in the A-League that’s ever been sacked for not entertaining.
"For 10 years, four A-League coaches get sacked every year…every coach that I’ve ever known that’s been sacked, it’s never been down to entertainment, it’s down to results.
“I got brought up as a kid when I played it was all about winning. When I got brought up as a coach it’s all about winning.
“The last five or six years, maybe longer, kids have been taught it's okay to lose. So when they lose they don’t hurt. That’s the difference.
“That’s why I don’t apologise if I put 10 players on the goal line and we win 1-0.”
Arnold said the argument about his side’s substance over style came down to perception.
“And the perception is wrong. It’s about being hard to beat,” the Sky Blues boss said.
“For me, when we come up against opposition teams and the players from that team say ‘we hate playing against you, you’re so hard to beat’.
"That’s a compliment.”
Sydney has lost the last two games and another defeat against Adelaide on Friday night would see them drop to sixth-spot on the Hyundai A-League ladder.
Arnold conceded his side needed to improve their proficiency in the front third and is confident skipper Alex Brosque would be right to return in for next weekend’s home clash against Perth Glory.
The Sky Blues boss wouldn’t confirm if new signing David Carney would start against the Reds but he has been impressed with the way he’s settled into the squad.
“He [Carney] was very good at training [on Wednesday]. He comes with great experience,” Arnold said.
“I wanted an extra player in the ACL for that experience.
“David brings that versatility. He can play number 11, number 10, number 7 and after losing Alex Gersbach, he can also play left back where he did for the national team.
"He gives us good versatility and good experience.”