Last month ‘did take its toll’ on Sydney FC says Corica
Friday night's Sydney Derby defeat means runaway leaders Sydney FC have only picked up three points from two Hyundai A-League games in February and head coach Steve Corica admits his side have lost some momentum.
The defending Champions missed the chance to open up a 16-point advantage at the top of the ladder at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium when they slipped to back-to-back 1-0 losses against bitter rivals Western Sydney Wanderers in a rearranged Round 18 encounter.
Corica’s side only played three games in the month of February and went three weeks without a match due to their AFC Asian Champions League opener being rescheduled to due coronavirus fears and weather conditions in the Harbour City meaning the Sydney Derby was postponed.
Their first match of the month was the 4-0 Asian Champions League reverse against Japanese champions Yokohama F. Marinos on February 19 and, although Corica was happy with his team's performance in the Sydney Derby, he believes the on-off nature of the schedule had an impact.
“I think it did take it’s toll, especially the game in Yokohama,” Corica said.
“Three weeks without a game is not great. You could see the sharpness of them boys over there, and their intensity, probably didn’t help.
“But we’ve played three games now and it’s starting to come back and we’ve got a lot more to come in the future.”
Corica was caught by FOX Sports cameras delivering an angry spray to Western Sydney defender Daniel Georgievski in the tunnel in Kogarah after the match.
The Wanderers full-back saw a red card in the closing stages of a heated battle for a dangerous tackle on Sky Blues’ young substitute Marco Tilio and Corica reinforced he was not happy about the challenge.
“No [I wasn't happy]. I thought he deserved his red card for kicking out at Marco Tillo,” Corica added.
“That’s the way it goes, that’s football. He’s a competitor and obviously he made a mistake, as well.
“Kicking out – we can’t have that, especially in the face.”
The defeat was Sydney’s first ever at Nestrata Jubilee Stadium, and only their second in the competition this season, and Corica insists he saw no signs of complacency.
“It’s only the first loss in 13 games,” Corica said.
“I think [Yokohama] was a different tournament so I count that as a different tournament – I don’t look much into that. They are a very good team.
“I think we’re in a good position at the moment. We’re still 13 points clear.
“We wanted to make it 16 but it wasn’t to be. Sometimes, luck I don’t think was on our side.”
Brisbane Roar v Western Sydney Wanderers
Friday, 6 March
Kick off: 7.30pm local, 8.30pm AEDT
Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC
Saturday, 7 March
Kick off: 7.30pm AEDT