Sydney FC might have won the David versus Goliath battle against A-League frontrunners Central Coast but stand-in skipper Brett Emerton says it will count for nothing if they can’t back it up.
The Sky Blues posted the biggest upset of the season in stunning the Mariners 2-1 at Allianz Stadium on Thursday with Emerton sealing the victory with his 89th-minute header.
The sustained pressure from the cellar-dwellers made for a dramatic finish to the match as tensions boiled over for the Mariners in the dying minutes with both skipper John Hutchinson and playmaker Tomas Rogic sent off for dodgy tackles.
Emerton says getting under the Mariners’ skin was all part of the plan.
“From minute one, that’s what we set out to do,” he said on Friday.
“We were in their faces and maybe it’s something they’re not completely used to.
“No one likes to be put under intense pressure all the time and we need to do that to teams throughout the rest of the season.”
The win lifted Sydney off the bottom into ninth place on the ladder and they appeared miles apart from the side that was thrashed 7-2 by the Mariners in their last encounter.
“It was a massive win for us and was a little bit of revenge taken after a disappointing result a few weeks ago,” Emerton said.
“It’s definitely a different mood today than it was this time a week ago and we want to feel this way a few more times this season.”
New Sky Blues coach Frank Farina was scathing in his assessment of his side after they suffered their eighth loss this season going down 2-1 to Newcastle last week.
Farina said in no uncertain terms if his players didn’t show the fighting quality he desired, they wouldn’t be playing.
“He’s made that very clear from the start and that’s how it should be,” Emerton said.
“Everyone should fear that if they’re not doing the right thing on the park that next week they won’t be playing.
“That especially showed last night because we received some harsh words after the Newcastle game and I think everyone stepped up.”
Things don’t get any easier for Sydney with a very quick turnaround ahead of facing second-placed Adelaide on New Year’s Eve before taking on Perth five days later.
And while some think Thursday’s victory might have woken the sleeping giants, Emerton says the real test will be maintaining the intensity in coming fixtures.
“Let’s not get carried away,” he said.
“If we don’t continue to back that up, then that one result on its own means nothing.
“Once we put consistent performances together, then we can start to consider ourselves a serious threat.
“These next games are a great opportunity to stamp our mark.
“If we can get a positive result out of these three games, anything’s possible.”