Alex Brosque says Sydney FC's players have been buoyed by Graham Arnold's decision to remove himself from the race to become Caltex Socceroos coach.
Arnold this week pledged to remain with the Sky Blues until at least the end of the season, ruling himself out of the running for the vacant national team post.
The move has been warmly welcomed by the 54-year-old's squad.
"To have it now in writing and settled, it's better for the boys as well to know that he's hanging around," Brosque said.
"I guess Arnie couldn't tell us as much as he wanted, but the fact that it's now done and he's made it clear that he's not taking that job, it just puts the players at ease to know that he'll be here and he's thinking about the club and us as a team.
"He would have thought about it and it would've crossed his mind, but to have him turn it down and turn away from it to focus on us, it does give us players and as a team relief.
"He's built a lot at this club since he's been here and he's the main reason why we are in such a position today."
Sydney venture south on Australia Day to meet rivals Melbourne Victory in their traditional Big Blue clash.
The champions are looking to get back on track after back-to-back draws and are looking to inflict a blow on their rivals' top four chances.
"It's a defining moment in our season, regardless of where we are on the table, regardless of where Melbourne are on the table," Brosque said.
"They're always big games and chances for us to really make a statement.
"[Victory] don't need much to fire themselves up for this game and nor do we."