Sydney FC marquee-man Brett Emerton has labelled the Sky Blues victory over Perth on Saturday as the most important win of the season and one that could spark a late-season charge to the A-League finals.
Emerton starred in the 2-1 victory over a resurgent Glory at the SFS, scoring a superb goal – his first in open play for the Sky Blues – and setting up Brazilian import Bruno Cazarine for the second before Billy Mehmet pulled one back for the visitors.
The win was the perfect response to last week’s 5-2 thumping at the hands of Newcastle and was only Sydney’s fourth win at home in 11 attempts, leaving them in seventh spot on the ladder but equal on 27 points with sixth-placed Melbourne Heart.
“It was a fantastic win for us – the most important one of the season,” the stand-in skipper, replacing suspended captain Terry McFlynn, said.
“In difficult times, it was great to see every player went out there and no-one went hiding – everyone wanted the ball.
“Apart from the win, that was the most important thing, that the players showed character.
“That’s going to take us a long way I think hopefully through the rest of the season and hopefully into the finals.”
Apart from runaway leaders the Central Coast, who sit seven points adrift of closest rivals Wellington, the rest of the league is extremely close with just six points separating second to seventh place.
And with only six games to go before the end of the regular season, Emerton knows the three points were crucial for their finals hopes.
He says Perth, who since their 1-1 draw with Sydney on January 18 went on to post three consecutive big wins – 4-1 against Melbourne Victory, 3-0 over Adelaide and 4-0 against Gold Coast – to propel themselves to fourth spot on the ladder, serve as the perfect example.
“Yeah of course it can (spark a late-season charge),” Emerton said.
“If you look at Perth for example, last time we played them only four or five weeks ago we were both sitting in a similar spot on the table and since then they’ve used that as a springboard to go on and string some wins together.
“So hopefully we can take a look at them and see what they’ve done and do a similar thing.”
Meanwhile, former Manchester United star Dwight Yorke has put his hand up for Sydney’s head coaching role.
Yorke, who lifted the championship trophy as the Sky Blues marquee-man in the A-League’s inaugural season in 2005/06, says he would love to return to Sydney to replace departing Czech coach Vitezslav Lavicka.
“I’m absolutely interested in coaching Sydney,” Yorke said.
“I’ve been there as a player and know what success is all about in Sydney.”