Ahead of tonight's clash with Phoenix, Sydney FC boss Graham Arnold says he's over hearing about his side becoming the Hyundai A-League’s version of "The Invincibles". For Arnie, it's now all about a pursuit of greatness.
Talk of going through the entire campaign undefeated has hovered over the club ever since midfielder Josh Brillante revealed to www.a-league.com.au in November that the tag of "invincibles" was driving Sydney FC to emulate Arsenal's famous unbeaten season in the last decade.
And the Sky Blues have been bullish ever since, standing by the statement as their unbeaten streak has extended to 18 games.
But now Arnold wants the talk to stop.
"I told them [the players] I don't want to hear about it,” Arnold declared to reporters.
“You can't get there unless you go through the process and the process is 27 games.
“The process is we want to win every game, the process is [the Wellington game] and the first game of the last nine.
“I’m not even looking at [the Invincibles tag]. I said to the players don’t look backwards, don’t look forwards too far, just look one game, one week and that’s Wellington.”
Countless times during their phenomenal unbeaten run which has them nine-points clear heading into the last third of the season, Arnold has claimed his troops are only performing at 60% of their potential.
Arnold said he’s seen glimpses of his side at full-throttle, in big wins over Perth Glory and Central Coast Mariners.
But his main goal is to see the Sky Blues put that kind of display on for an entire match.
“When we’re in full tilt those 20 or 30 minutes we’re unstoppable and no one can deal with us,” Arnold said ahead of the battle with Phoenix at Allianz Stadium.
“It’s a matter of doing it for 90 minutes and starting from the first minute to the last minute and keeping that type of level.
“I demand high expectations because of the way we play the game. I have four or five players on the bench that would be starting members at any other team in the league that are pushing the other 10 or 11 players every week and they are the ones responsible for what is happening.
“The ambition and the drive when you get into this situation is to be the greatest A-League team in history. That’s what we’re striving to be,” he added.
Arnold is continuing to push his squad to improve but says the players are taking it upon themselves to try and reach their full potential.
“Collectively we have a group of winners that die to win, they fight for each other and there’s a will on the pitch kill for each other,” the Sky Blues boss said.
“There’s a lot of trust in this team. Even when the chips are down a little bit…we’ve got three or four players putting their body on the line defensively to stop a goal.”
Ahead of tonight’s (Thurs) clash with Wellington Phoenix, Arnold revealed injured defender Sebastian Ryall (hamstring) was back running but was probably four weeks away from a return to playing.