Battling back from a goal down with ten men demonstrated the steely belief within Sydney FC’s playing group this Hyundai A-League season, says the Sky Blues’ Caltex Socceroo Alex Wilkinson.
Last Friday night in a Hyundai A-League’s top-two blockbuster, league leaders Sydney FC came back from a goal down and midfielder Josh Brillante's red card to force a late equaliser against second-placed City to draw 1-1 at ANZ Stadium.
It was a tough night for the Sky Blues against an excellent City side who took the lead thanks to a fabulous Fernando Brandan strike.
Sky Blues central defender Alex Wilkinson said the result demonstrated the mental strength inside their dressing room, something they worked on in the off-season using Arsenal’s “Invincible” EPL side of 12 years ago as their inspiration.
“If you can get the boys believing every week that we’ll win and not lose, then winning can become a habit,” he told www.a-league.com.au at an EA SPORTS FIFA 17 Ultimate Team event.
“So, even if you go down a goal or things aren’t going your way, if you have that belief and self-confidence then you’re always in the game and always a chance to get it back.
“Especially the other night against City, the boys showed fantastic character with 10 men and still managed to get a goal back and nearly nicked it at the end.”
Sydney FC are unbeaten going into Round 11 as talk about them being “Australia’s Invincibles” continues.
It’s that pursuit of excellence that drives on Graham Arnold’s men.
“We always talk about the difference between having a good team and a great team,” said Wilkinson.
“At the moment we’re a good team but if we can reach that next level we can be great and, I guess, remembered forever.
But it’s a difficult thing to do,” he added of the quest to go unbeaten in a 27-game regular season.
The unbeaten run will be tested this Saturday night at Perth's nib Stadium.
Glory often play better against the top sides and they were booed off the park last week in their disastrous home loss to the Jets, after coughing up an early lead to lose 2-1.
They'll have a point to prove to the home fans after a week of soul searching. Add to that, Andy Keogh.
The Glory talisman is a consistent and quality threat no matter the form of his team, and it’ll be Wilkinson and Matty Jurman who’ll likely have to mark the Irish star.
“Keogh’s a different type of player to Fornaroli [who was a teammate of Wilkinson at City last season].
“Keogh makes great runs off the shoulder and he’s one you need eyes in the back of your head to track. He’s really good at that.
“While you’re watching the play he can just drift out and make that run off your shoulder.
“It’s difficult when the ball is here and you have to watch him there.
"And his finishing, it’s deadly. We saw that goal against Victory [in Round 9 at AAMI Park].
"They pretty much had only one maybe two chances and he knocked it in with a great finish. He’s on seven goals already and a difficult guy to mark.”