Farina to keep Sydney working hard
If the Sydney FC players thought Sunday's 2-1 win against Wellington Phoenix will end the twice-a-day training sessions they will be disappointed.
New coach Frank Farina has quickly made his mark at the Sky Blues with the new training regime and the hard work done in the lead-up to their trip to Wellington certainly paid dividends as they notched their first win in the New Zealand capital since 2008 to end a five-game winless streak.
But despite that Farina revealed post-match that his players would be doing a double shift again on Wednesday.
"It's not a matter of flogging them. It's not a punishment," Farina said.
"It's more so because I'm new in the job. I've only been there eight or nine days. The double sessions are more about getting them to buy into the way I want to play.
"Some people think it's a punishment or I'm trying to do something. It's really just working on structure and shape and how we want to play."
There was no lack of effort or commitment from Sydney on Sunday. They harried and chased and tackled and were rewarded with goals from Sebastian Ryall and Rhyan Grant either side of the break.
"This week we worked hard and the intensity at training was very good," Farina said.
"I'm a firm believer if that's the case in training you carry that into a game and we did that today.
"I was pretty pleased, apart from that last three or four minutes."
Former Socceroo and PSV midfielder Jason Culina made his first start following a lengthy injury lay-off and controlled things well for the 60 minutes he was on the pitch. His cross set up Ryall's header but his leadership skills were just as important.
"He's done it tough," said Farina. "I don't think people realise the full extent of the operations Jason had. For him to come back and perform the way he did today... It was the Jason of old.
"Being in the middle of the park is not the easiest of occupations. He did very well. I'm very pleased."
Meanwhile, Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert has put his players on notice.
"Poor, absolutely right across the board," was Herbert's summing up of the defeat.
"We failed to perform anywhere today. We couldn't look after the ball. Everyone looked flat. We got no rotation out of midfield and we ended up going long. It was not good enough today."
Wellington headed into the game on a three-game unbeaten run and with the chance to move up to fourth spot with a win.
"I think today was a great chance to keep that sequence going," said Herbert. "But we looked like a side with the bottom of the table coming and maybe expectations aren't that strong. You drop off in this league you're going to get punished for it.
"It's a massive disappointment. We're all hurting on this one.
"We just didn't defend from front to back. We didn't shut down at the top. We allowed them to get out. We didn't get tight in midfield and consequently they move forward and they are going to create chances.
Substitutes Louis Fenton, Tyler Boyd and Benjamin Totori at least brought some enthusiasm and Herbert hinted at changes for next week's trip to second-placed Adelaide.
"Those young boys are great. They are going to throw themselves right in the mix for the away game against Adelaide next week and why not," said the coach, who will also have Dani Sanchez available for the first time since off-season knee surgery.
"We've been stable in the group with the selection and I think those boys do give you something. They are the future of the club. They certainly don't let you down.
"They probably got us going slightly but at the end of the day any result would have been an injustice today."