A fired-up Frank Farina has issued an ultimatum to his players after their 2-1 loss to Newcastle on Saturday evening - fight or don't play.
A fired-up Frank Farina has issued an ultimatum to his players at Sydney FC after their disappointing 2-1 loss to Newcastle on Saturday evening - fight or don't play.
The so-called "glamour club" of the competition is anchored to the bottom of the Hyundai A-League ladder as the season nears the halfway point, and the new coach said each and every player in the Sydney FC ranks had to adopt a fighting attitude or face the prospect of watching the team from the grandstand.
"As I said when I came to the club; I am a fighter and I will go down swinging in terms of the fight to make it off the bottom and up the table," Farina said after the loss to Newcastle.
"And I expect that players that will be with me will have that same attitude. If they don't, they won't play.
"All of us have to have a good look in the mirror. I will find out the players who want to fight and get us out of this and they will play, the rest will fall by the wayside.
"There will be a lot of nervous players - they won't like me when I get angry.
"That is what we will do - there is no other choice."
The Sky Blues turned a lacklustre performance to go down to their F3 rivals at Hunter Stadium conceding two goals in the opening 27 minutes before a goal to Yario Yau against the run of play in the 32nd minute gave them a glimmer of hope of grabbing a share of the points.
The Sydney side had the better of play early in the second half but on the whole they were outplayed and out-muscled by a Newcastle side equally desperate to find form after a run of losses.
"It was a little better than last week but still very disappointing," Farina said of his team's performance against the Jets.
"I am also disappointed for the fans who travelled up from Sydney - they don't deserve to see that. Once again it is not lack of trying, it is just that we weren't good enough today.
"We had a couple of chances in the second half where we possibly could have scored but we got what we deserved today, and we didn't deserve to win."
Marquee Alessandro Del Piero toiled hard in the middle of the park for Sydney and was the only player really creating chances after the Sky Blues lost Brett Emerton midway through the first half to a stomach virus.
"It was unfortunate that we lost Brett," said Farina.
"Going into the game he was quite ill and that only came on after the warm up. Going 2-0 I thought let's get him off and change things up a bit.
" He was OK after lunch then in the warm-up he was feeling a bit strange so that was a bit disappointing but that is not an excuse - once again we were not good enough.
"And when you have to rely on a 38-year-old guy (Del Piero) to run for 90 minutes after coming back from a hamstring injury it is a bit of a worry.
"There was a bit more urgency out there again today but not (the level) we want, not for this team."
The road off the bottom of the ladder doesn't get any easier for Sydney with a string of difficult games over the festive season.
They host league leaders Central Coast Mariners next start before travelling to Adelaide to take on the second-placed Adelaide United on New Year's Eve and follow that up with a match against Perth Glory.
Despite the side's predicament and the difficult schedule ahead, Farina remained positive.
"It would be nice to make it a turning point. We have to win - it is as simple as that," he said.
"It can turn quickly. You can win one and get on a roll and the confidence grows and we have seen that with other teams - Western Sydney for example.
"It is just getting that (win) and trying to build on that."