Sydney FC boss Steve Corica insists his side are well and truly still in the mix for the Premiers’ Plate despite falling six points behind Perth Glory.
The Sky Blues started slowly on Wednesday evening and paid the price as the table-toppers Glory laid the platform for a strong 3-1 win in Perth.
The result saw Tony Popovic’s Glory open up a six-point gap on both Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory but Corica said although catching up with Perth would be “a challenge”, it was one that his players would embrace.
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“There’s still a long way to go in the league,” Corica told reporters.
“It’s a long way - it’s only Round 12. [We have] got 15 more rounds to go and there’s a lot of points to be picked up from now on.
“It’s all about performing. We’ve got two home games, our next two games at home so we expect to obviously pick up six points from that and it’s how we respond after a tough trip here.”
Pressed further on the race to finish top, Corica said: “It’s only six points. We have to play them again later on in the season.”
“I’m sure they have to play the top teams as well. It doesn’t mean they’ve got it shot to bits - there’s a long way to go.
“I’ve seen teams been turned around from six points up front. It’s a challenge.
"We’re looking forward to it and it’s going to be a good end to the season.”
Corica added that his side’s first half was “very disappointing” and urged his players to respond strongly against Adelaide United at Jubilee Stadium on Sunday.
“It’s what we do from here - next game," he said.
"We’ve got a quick turnaround again … it’s a slip-up from our boys, especially in the first half, but we need to move forward and make sure we get the win next game.”
Glory boss Tony Popovic was much happier, acknowledging that Perth’s first-half effort was “probably” their best half of the season.
“It was great intensity, great football, disciplined defensively - it was just an all-round great 45 minutes,” he said.
“I’m glad that they got what they deserved and they got three goals.”
Perth have another home fixture on Sunday when the struggling Western Sydney Wanderers visit HBF Park.