Sydney FC boss Graham Arnold has declared he has a stronger team than the one that won the Hyundai A-League double in the 2016/17 Season.
Arnold was in a bullish mood on Monday ahead of the Sky Blues Westfield FFA Cup quarter final against Melbourne City at Leichhardt Oval on Wednesday night.
'WE'RE BETTER AND FITTER'
Arnold has retained the core of his Championship winning team for the new campaign and added the likes of Adrian Mierzejewski, Luke Wilkshire, Anthony Kalik and Paulo Retre.
“We’ve got a lot of belief in the squad, there’s a lot of belief amongst that players that we are a greater team than what we were last year,” Arnold said.
“The new signings are fantastic. I believe that we have a greater squad than what we had last season, the new players have settled in very well.
“They’re great people first and foremost, they’re here for the right intentions and that’s to win, they’re going to come and bring us success, and we expect to win on Wednesday night.
“Adrian is very good. He’s exciting, a very good player and not only has he got a strong CV of where he’s come from, but he’s top shelf. When he settles in more, knowing what the other players do on the pitch and the combinations come together it’s exciting.
“For us it’s all about being a greater team than what we were last year and performing greater than what we did. We truly believe that, and the way the players are working, the motivation is extremely high and there’s a lot of belief in the squad that we will do that.
“The boys are extremely fit, it’s scary to think that we’ll be even fitter than last season and how we run over teams in the second half, I can see that happening again. The players are in top shape.”
PUMPED FOR FFA CUP FINAL REMATCH
Wednesday's clash is a repeat of last year's Westfield FFA Cup final, which City won 1-0 thanks to Tim Cahill's goal.
“We’re extremely excited for the game. To play at Leichhardt Oval is pretty unique for our club, at a suburban ground close to our fans in the inner west so we’re expecting a good roll up but also a very good performance," Arnold said.
“We’ve got a lot of depth in the squad, everyone is fit and healthy and everyone is excited for the game.
“We’ll go in to the game expecting to win as normal but at the same time it’s an important pre-season match in a competition that we haven’t won before as a club and we want that trophy as well,” he continued.
“There’s a trophy on the line, we want to win every trophy that’s out there. It’s a great thing for our preseason that we can play meaningful games.
“I was really excited when we got Melbourne City in the draw, we’re looking forward to stepping up our performances. We’ve been performing around 50% status and now we need to step up and we will on Wednesday night.”