Graham Arnold calls Sydney FC slump 'the most difficult period' of his career
Graham Arnold says Sydney FC's recent results slump has been the most difficult period of his A-League coaching career, and pledged to drop players who had been given "too many chances."
A sluggish Sydney are at real risk of slipping out of the top six in the coming weeks, after falling 2-1 to a tenacious Perth outfit now hot on their heels in seventh.
Fifth-placed Sydney, who have lost three of their past four matches and drawn the other, will fall to sixth if Adelaide beat Central Coast on Sunday.
After that, they embark on an unforgiving 15 days featuring three high-profile A-League matches and two Asian Champions League group-stage games sandwiched in between. And all are crucial.
Next weekend they play league leaders Western Sydney in the final Sydney derby at Allianz Stadium.
They then travel to Japan to face Urawa Red Diamonds, before contending with Melbourne Victory away, hosting reigning ACL champions Guangzhou Evergrande and heading back to Melbourne to clash with City.
It's a handful even for a team on top of their game, but after watching his squad repeatedly misfire, a fed-up Arnold declared now is the time to act.
"We have to be honest, it wasn't good enough [against Perth]," Arnold said. "I can only say to all the Sydney FC fans, I'm working longer hours than I've ever worked, and I'm more determined than ever to fix this.
"The last month hasn't been good, maybe some players have had too many chances and maybe it's now time for changes.
"It's transition to defence, the same players not tracking players. It's killing us.
"That's been looked at, players have been told, the video has been shown, and it continues. So changes will have to be made."
Arnold denied he was feeling under pressure, but did admit he burdens himself with his own high standards.
"If the high standards are not met then this happens," he said. "Every coach goes through a difficult time in the A-League.
"This is probably the most difficult period, if I'm honest, that I've ever had in the five years.
"And I'll come out fighting -- I'm a fighter. But the players have to do as they're told, and if they don't they won't play."
Marquee Filip Holosko was rested against the Glory with hamstring trouble, with Arnold confident the Slovak winger should be fine to face the Wanderers.