It might be his first Sydney Derby as head coach but Sydney FC boss Steve Corica knows all about the “mind games” ahead of such a blockbuster clash.
The build-up to Saturday night’s clash at the SCG took a strange twist this week with Western Sydney coach Markus Babbel’s claims about the respective clubs.
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The German rated his team as the “worst in the league”, while talked up the Sky Blues as one of the favourites for the Hyundai A-League title.
While admitting he expects Sydney FC to continue their recent Derby dominance, Corica suggested the Wanderers boss was selling his side short.
"He's a bit harsh on his team. I think he's right about our team," Corica told reporters with a smile on Friday.
"It might be a little bit of mind games but we're concerned about our team only and we do believe we're a great team and we will get better as the season goes along.
Asked if he likes a few mind games, the Sky Blues coach said: "It's all a bit of fun. A bit of banter.
"If that's what he thinks is going to get the best out of his players then that's good for him.
“But our concentration is on us and how we’re going to play against them.
"We want to win. We expect to win," Corica added.
"It's another derby game, we know what they're all about. We've got to be at our best and make sure we're ready for everything they throw at us. We want the three points badly as well.”
The Sky Blues opened their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Adelaide United last week, with Corica confident his team will improve on that showing, especially with the ball.
And in striker Adam Le Fondre they have a striker in red-hot form in front of goal, scoring four goals in his last three competitive outings.
“He’s started really well, he’s settled in well and it’s what you want from your striker,” Corica said of the English attacker.
“He’s come in and scored goals. It’s what we expect and it’s what he expects.
“He knows his role and what he needs to bring to the team defensively as well. He has to work hard for the team but of course we want him to score goals and that he’s doing.”
More than 30,000 fans are expected for the clash, in what will be the first football match at the SCG in more than 30 years.
In good news for the Sky Blues, Corica confirmed young playmaker Daniel De Silva is “ready to go” after missing the opening round with a hamstring strain.
The Sky Blues have lost just one of the last 13 Sydney Derbies in the Hyundai A-League, while they also beat the Wanderers 3-0 in the FFA Cup Semi Finals earlier this month.