'I think we should be top': Corica, Sky Blues target Sydney Derby win to continue push for Premiers Plate
Sydney FC boss Steve Corica believes his side should be top of the A-League table heading into Matchweek 19, as the second-placed Sky Blues prepare to face Western Sydney Wanderers in a high-stakes Sydney Derby at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday, May 1.
It's the second meeting of the season between the two sides after a 1-1 draw at ANZ Stadium in Matchweek 4.
A lot has changed for both sides since that day in mid-January: The Wanderers - a side occupying the top six for the majority of the campaign - slipped into ninth on the A-League table at the conclusion Matchweek 18 after a 5-4 loss to Melbourne Victory extended the Wanderers' winless run to six games.
Sydney FC, meanwhile, are unbeaten in six, but head coach Corica says the current run of form - which included three consecutive draws - serves to remind him that his side should be flying out ahead of the pack.
After league-leading Melbourne City beat Newcastle Jets on Thursday, the gap between the two sides extended to four points. The Sky Blues can draw back to within one point of City with a Sydney Derby win on Saturday night.
"I think we should be top now," Corica said in his post-match press conference after the Sky Blues beat Melbourne Victory 1-0 on Tuesday, April 27.
"I think we’ve had opportunities to go top a long time ago with the three (drawn) games that we should have won.
"So yeah, other than this game - I thought we weren’t bad in this game - but we’ve played a lot better during the season.
"I think the last three games before this one we played really well, and like I said we didn’t pick up maximum points when the opportunities were there."
Corica added: "I think the last three weeks we’ve been better and only picked up (one point) in each game.
"The most important thing tonight was three points. Then we move up the table and it puts some more pressure on other teams.
"We have another big game on Saturday against the Wanderers, we’re looking forward to that and making sure the boys are ready for it."
Despite the disparity in recent results between the two sides, the Wanderers will approach the Sydney Derby with quiet optimism after enjoying the ascendancy in the past five meetings between the local rivals. The ninth-placed Wanderers are unbeaten in five games against the Sky Blues (W2, D3).
But while holding the advantage in the recent Sydney Derbies, the Red and Black have failed to match the Sky Blues in general performance and consistency.
Whilst the Sky Blues have swept up the silverware in recent seasons the Red and Black have floundered in the bottom-half of the table; finishing seventh or lower by the end of the 2020/21 campaign would result in a fourth-straight season without Finals Series football in Wanderland.
Robinson has asked his side for a reaction in Saturday night's derby clash, and that's exactly what Corica expects to receive from a side desperate to stop the rot with a tide-turning win at Bankwest Stadium.
"It’s a derby, you know what they’re like," Corica said.
"It doesn’t matter where you are on the table: everyone wants to win that game for the fans.
"It’s a big game, they are under a little bit of pressure but we can’t think of that, we just want to concentrate on our performance, what we want to do, obviously there’s a bit of work to do before that with analysing their games… and coming up with a game plan to win."
Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC
Saturday, May 1 2021
Venue: Bankwest Stadium
Kick-off: 7.10pm AEST
Broadcast: Fox Sports 505
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports
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