Sydney look to continue late A-League run
Sydney FC may have hit form at the right time, but captain Terry McFlynn isn't counting on momentum to get them across the line in Friday's A-League elimination semi-final against Wellington.
McFlynn, who will play his 150th game for the club at Westpac Stadium, says Sydney have been playing finals football for the last three weeks as a late charge lifted them to sixth place on the table.
Last Sunday's 3-2 win over Newcastle Jets finally secured a spot in the playoffs, and although the Phoenix are coming off a 2-1 loss to league leaders Central Coast Mariners, McFlynn says it would be dangerous to read too much into either result.
"Momentum's a funny one, you can turn it round either way," he said.
"You can look it any way you want, but certainly from our point of view we'll only look at what we can control, and that's our performance.
"In the last three or four weeks that's been good, so confidence is high."
Sydney's less than impressive record against the Phoenix this season has helped keep McFlynn's men grounded: three losses, including the most recent 1-0 at Allianz Stadium late last month, offer no reason for overconfidence.
"We've always analysed performances more than results," he said.
"If we kept our focus on performance, we knew the results would come and thankfully they've come at the right time of the season for us."
Closing down leading Phoenix scorer Paul Ifill will be a key factor in constructing a win, with the elusive striker scoring in all three matches against Sydney this season.
But McFlynn says Sydney concentrate solely on the Englishman at their own peril.
"Paul Ifill's a fantastic player, but Leo Bertos and Tim Brown can also score goals, and Chris Greenacre so I think it would be unfair of us to focus on one player," McFlynn said.
"We've always said if we can stay in control of what we can control, and that's our own performance and our own outlook on the game, then we shouldn't be too far away."
Despite falling short twice at Westpac Stadium this year, McFlynn says Sydney's form away has been solid, and there's a strong belief in the team that they can repeat their grand final-winning effort of two years ago.
"I don't see why not. We've had a belief all season in what we were doing and we've never wavered from that, we've never faltered.
"There's a strong belief in the group, so we'll keep believing like we have done all season and hopefully that will continue to April 22."