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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

Lavicka to lead Sydney at Champions League

Under-fire Sydney FC coach Vitezslav Lavicka will lead the side for the upcoming Asian Champions League but his future beyond that is still in doubt.

Last season Lavicka steered the club to a Premiership and Championship double in his first year at the helm.

But the reigning champions have had a dismal season, never looking like pulling off a title defence.

They currently sit in ninth place, six points adrift of the top-six with five matches left in the regular season.

And with their hopes of a finals berth all but dead and buried, the Champions League, which kicks off on March 3, is an opportunity to salvage some pride.

"What Vitezslav achieved for the club in his first season as coach in the A-League, winning both the Premiership and Championship, is a credit to him and his management skills," vice-chairman Scott Barlow said in a statement on Tuesday.

"He qualified the club for the 2011 AFC Champions League, a goal we set from day one with him. He led us to the most successful season in the club's history.

"Obviously, this season has not been up to the high standards we set for ourselves.

"We acknowledge that but as a collective group we are working as hard as ever to put Sydney FC back to where it belongs; at the top of Australian football.

"We have endured a terrible season with player injury.

"Vitja has only been able to play a full strength Sydney FC a handful of times this season and this has severely hampered us in achieving the goals we set ourselves this year."

The Sydney FC board will meet during the off-season, before the A-League re-starts in August or September, to determine the coaching set-up for the 2011-12 campaign.

Assistant coach Michal Zach will return to the Czech Republic when his contract finishes on March 31.

"Michal indicated he wanted to return to the Czech Republic to be closer to his family and we accepted that," Barlow said.

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