The top two inches. That's where Sunday's Hyundai A-League grand final may be won and lost, according to Graham Arnold, Sydney FC's head coach.
CLEARING THE CLUTTER
When Sydney FC meet Melbourne Victory in the 2016/17 season climax, much of the focus will be on the physical aspects both teams bring to Allianz Stadium and the occasion.
But Sky Blues coach Graham Arnold believes the right frame of mind could be what tips the balance in his side's favour.
“The mental aspect is big this week,” Arnold told reporters ahead of the grand final.
“We do a lot of work mentally with the players.
“Around social media and media these days there's a lot of negativity we need to remove from the players' brains and minds to make sure they go into a game positive.
“Mike Conway works with the players to make sure mentally they're fresh and they're ready.
“He's not a psychologist – he’s an emotional intelligence coach.
“[He] removes any types of issues that there are and we're ready to play,” explained Arnold.
CONFIDENCE, NOT ARROGANCE
The Sydney FC mentor has publicly acknowledged he was unhappy with his own performance last season.
In response, he has worked extensively this season with coaching mentor Bradley Charles Stubbs.
One of the bedrocks of their discussions has been an expect-to-win philosophy.
“I don't think we're bullish,” said Arnold.
“I just think we're confident and expect to win.
“It's what we do every week.
“You couldn't imagine me standing here today saying we expect to lose,” he said.