Farina: Defence was Sydney´s saviour
Sydney FC coach Frank Farina praised his defence for keeping their finals hopes alive after they beat the Central Coast on Saturday.
The Sky Blues moved back into the A-League top six after goals from Sebastian Ryall and Joel Chianese ensured they toppled the Mariners 2-0 at Allianz Stadium.
With Socceroos skipper Lucas Neill (injured) and left-back Fabio (suspended) both missing from the defence, Farina was forced to re-jig his back four but they were able to blunt the competition's most lethal attack.
"I was very pleased... over the 90 minutes it was a good performance from everyone and I thought defensively we were very solid," Farina said.
"We held our shape well because a side like that (Mariners) is going to get behind and cause you problems.
"I thought the back-four played very well - that was our strength tonight.
"We got two goals but the key to tonight was our defence."
Neill, who missed the clash with a small calf tear, is expected to return for next Saturday night's blockbuster with Melbourne Victory.
Asked if the Socceroos veteran would come straight back into the side if he was fit, a coy Farina said: "We'll assess his (Neill) fitness and assess then everyone who played tonight.
"We don't know how everyone is going to pull up. There's no point speculating on anything now."
While the win has seen the Sky Blues jump from ninth to fifth on the ladder, they still have plenty of work to do to secure their finals berth over the last three rounds.
Following next week's encounter with the Victory, Farina's troops face Western Sydney Wanderers in the derby before a final-round trip to Brisbane Roar.
"We haven't had a run of goods results all season... I said this week this was a must-win match and we managed to get three points," Farina said.
"We've got three games to go now and we need at least another three or six points from them."
Striker Joel Griffiths left the field midway through the second half clutching his hamstring but Farina revealed it was only cramp and he should be fit for the Victory clash.