Sydney FC coach Steve Corica has spoken of the last season’s Finals Series heartbreak - but not with his players.
The Sky Blues seemed on track for the Double last season but after coasting to the Premiers’ Plate, they were bundled out of the Hyundai A-League Finals Series by Victory in an all-time classic.
Ex-Sydney midfielder Terry Antonis, who scored a 95th-minute own goal to send the Semi Final to extra time, then ran from inside his own half to score a dramatic 117th-minute winner for Victory, sparking wild celebrations.
Victory went on to win the Hyundai A-League Grand Final for a record fourth time, with the wound still raw for Corica and his squad.
But the Sydney FC boss said he would not raise the subject with his players ahead of Sunday’s ‘Big Blue’ return clash at Kogarah, insistent that it was already on their minds.
“We haven’t spoke about it [Semi Final defeat] to the players but I’m sure that’s in the back of their minds at the end of the day,” Corica said.
“It really hurt us not going into the Grand Final last year.
“We were the best team, we finished first by a lot of points and obviously it’s disappointing.
“But it’s a new season, new players, new season to play for … and obviously to beat Melbourne as well … we’re looking forward to it.”
Corica, who took over from Caltex Socceroos coach Graham Arnold at the end of last season, is excited to come up against friend and Victory Manager, Kevin Muscat, for the first time.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said with a smile.
“I played against ‘Musky’, I’ve played in the same team as ‘Musky’ as well in Wolves [Wolverhampton Wanderers], we are very good friends still.
“We played in the national team together as well but at the end of the day, we both want to win … it’s important we get off to a great start at Kogarah.”
Asked if Muscat managed like he played, Corica added: “He’s exactly the same, I think.
“He’s very focused, aggressive, just like he was a player.
“He’s also a good guy as well. I know people think on the field he’s a cranky one but off the field, top guy. I know him very well.
“But for me, that doesn’t matter. When it comes Sunday, match day, it’s about focus on our game, getting three points and how our team wants to play.
“It doesn’t matter about Kevin Muscat or whoever coaches the other team, it’s more focusing in on our team.”