Marquee man Brett Emerton believes Sydney FC's embarrassing home loss to Newcastle Jets last weekend was the wake-up call they needed.
Marquee man Brett Emerton believes Sydney FC's embarrassing home loss to Newcastle Jets last weekend was the wake-up call they needed to salvage their season and send departing coach Vitezslav Lavicka out on the right note.
The Sky Blues have slipped out of the top six for the first time since the early rounds of the season following their 5-2 capitulation against the Jets at the SFS last Sunday.
It was easily one of the most disappointing performances of the season and came just days after the club announced Lavicka will leave Sydney at the end of the current campaign to return to Europe.
Emerton, who missed the Jets clash with a hamstring strain, says talk that the impending departure of Lavicka could affect the side-s title chances for the rest of the season is off the mark.
While admitting he had never encountered such a situation during his time playing in Europe, the Socceroos star is adamant it will have a positive impact on the side, with the playing group full of respect for their coach and eager to send him out on good terms.
"It is a unique situation and not one which I've come across in my career so far," Emerton, who is back in the side for Saturday night-s clash with Perth Glory, said on Thursday.
"I don't think it will affect the team's performance because I think, as a group of players, we want to achieve something this year."
"It doesn't matter who was our manager, we would be going out there and giving 100 per cent each and every time."
"We respect the manager, so we want to send him off in the right way."
If the Sky Blues are to give their coach a good send off it means they'll have to at least work their way back into the top six over the last seven games of the season, starting with Saturday night-s clash with the Glory at the SFS.
Emerton regards the visit of Perth as Sydney's most important game of the season, with the opportunity to restore some battered confidence and forget the nightmare of the Newcastle match.
"We've dropped out of the top six now but maybe it-s the wake-up call we needed," he said.
"Thankfully we've still got seven games to go in the season and plenty of time to turn it around."
"Hopefully, like Perth have been able to do, we can go on a run, finish in the top six and go into the finals in good form."
Sydney will be without skipper Terry McFlynn (suspended) and striker Mark Bridge (ankle injury) against the Glory, with Emerton certain to start after shrugging off his hamstring problem.
Lavicka revealed he would also make one other change to the side, with exciting youngsters Joel Chianese or Mitch Mallia in with a chance of earning their first Hyundai A-League starts.
When pressed on his future and the prospect of possibly leaving before the end of the season if Sydney dropped out of the finals race, Lavicka said: "At the moment, I still have a commitment and clear desire to reach a successful season with the players and the club, so we don't give up the season and try to do our best."
"We have seven games to go, which means (a maximum of) 21 points."
"There's plenty of room to improve and we have a chance to pick up points and reach the finals."