Lavicka takes positives from draw

Sydney FC coach Vitezslav Lavicka took plenty of positives out of Wednesday night's 0-0 draw with Rangers and is confident the Sky Blues are well on track for the start of the A-League season despite another winless game.

Sydney FC coach Vitezslav Lavicka took plenty of positives out of Wednesday night's 0-0 draw with Rangers and is confident the Sky Blues are well on track for the start of the A-League season despite another winless game.

After the disappointing 5-3 loss to AEK Athens on Sunday, it was a much-improved performance from the A-League champions who gave as good as they got against the Scottish giants at a rain-soaked SFS.

While it was a dour contest that was devoid of many clear chances, it was the defensive effort of his side that was most pleasing for the Sydney boss.

Veteran Hayden Foxe was given a start and played the full 90 minutes in the heart of defence, allowing Sebastian Ryall to shift to the right and pushing Shannon Cole further forward.

And it seemed to work well with Sydney goal-keeper Liam Reddy having a relatively quiet night between the sticks.

"I think it was a really good performance tonight," Lavicka said.

"The defence generally seemed to be more compact than the last game."

"Hayden Foxe was very good."

"He brings the experience, brings the sharpness so he was one of the main players for the improvement."

Another positive for Sydney was the first start for new marquee man Nicky Carle after his off-season move from English club Crystal Palace.

The Socceroo midfielder played the first 45 minutes in his return from a hamstring injury before Lavicka opted to rest him with an on the start of the A-League season in 10 days time.

Despite the deplorable state of the waterlogged SFS surface, Carle showed some good touches which augurs well for Sydney's title defence.

"I felt really good, obviously I would have like to have played 90 minutes but you always start by doing the responsible thing," Carle said.

"I haven't played for three months; it was my first game back so it was a responsible thing to do."

"But I enjoyed it and the boys played some good football, all on the ground so I was very happy."

Lavicka said of Carle: "I'm happy that Nicky is back, he did a good job but we must manage his integration bit by bit."

"These conditions to make it difficult to play with any injury."

"We just wanted him to play until halftime. He will be ready (for the start of the A-League)."

Rangers boss Walter Smith said the conditions made it extremely difficult to play attacking football but was impressed by the standard of the A-League champions.

"I thought the first half of the game (Sydney) worked very hard to close us down and possess the ball and they were a bit better than we were in the first half," Smith said.

"Overall they have shown a good level. When you see the way they play, they'll have another good season."

"I don't know the overall standard of the A-League, I do watch it when we're at home but they certainly look a very bright side."

On a sour note for Sydney central defender Stephan Keller was forced off with a hamstring injury which will be assessed on Thursday with Lavicka hopeful it won't be serious enough to rule him out of the season opener against Melbourne on August 7.