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Feb, 8, 2012

Departing Lavicka has players' respect

Sydney FC soccer star Brett Emerton says the impending departure of coach Vitezslav Lavicka won't affect the team's performance and players respect him, wanting to send him off in the right fashion.

The club last week announced Czech Republic-born Lavicka will leave Sydney at the end of this season, his third with the A-League club.

Emerton, who has returned to Australia this year after spending the last decade in Europe, admitted he hadn't come across such a situation with a club in title contention.

"It is a unique situation and not one which I've come across in my career so far," Emerton told reporters before Sydney FC training on Thursday.

"But I don't think it will affect the team's performance because I think, as a group of players, we want to achieve something this year.

"It doesn't matter who was our manager, we would be going out there and giving 100 per cent each and every time and we do respect the manager, so we want to send him off in the right way."

Sydney slipped out of the top six following last week's heavy home loss to Newcastle.

Another home defeat on Saturday against high-flying Perth could seriously damage Sydney's finals prospects.

Lavicka, who won the A-League title with Sydney in his first season at the club, gave no hint he would look to leave before the end of the season if it became apparent the side couldn't make the finals.

"At the moment, I still have a commitment and clear desire to reach a successful season with the players and the club, so we don't give up the season and try to do our best," Lavicka told reporters.

"We have seven games to go, which means (a maximum of) 21 points.

"There's plenty of room to improve and we have a chance to pick up points and reach the finals."

Lavicka revealed he was poised to make three changes to his team for the SFS clash with Perth.

Captain Terry McFlynn is suspended and striker Mark Bridge has an ankle ligament injury.

Lavicka said he would make one other change, but didn't want to reveal who would be dropped.

He said every game from now on was like a grand final, while Emerton stressed the significance of Saturday's clash with Glory.

"I think it's arguably probably the most important game of our season so far," Emerton said.

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