Sydney FC marquee man Alessandro Del Piero says discipline is the key to toppling A-League arch-rivals Melbourne Victory in front of a big home crowd on Saturday.
Coming off their 2-0 upset win over second-placed Central Coast Mariners, Sydney are desperate to maintain that level as they cling to a top-six spot with just three matches to play.
Del Piero on Thursday demanded teammates stay focussed and maintain their much-improved discipline after copping just a solitary yellow card against the Mariners.
“Usually with 11 men it’s better than 10,” said Del Piero.
“That’s why we have to be concentrating in the first minute.
“Every single ball is very very important, it can decide the game.
“Same for the yellow cards, same for the tackles, same for every part of the game.”
Sydney are yet to secure a win over the third-placed Victory this season, going down 3-1 in their most recent clash in Melbourne.
In their first meeting this season, the Victory came from two goals down to beat Sydney 3-2 and coach Ian Crook stepped down one day later.
His replacement Frank Farina said the Sky Blues let themselves down with ill-discipline in the last Victory clash and he expected better at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.
“That’s something we’ve got to improve on,” he said.
“As long as we’re not picking up stuff for stupid stuff, like arguing with the referee or back chat.
“As long as we can repeat last week’s performance with one yellow I’ll be happy.”
Farina said last week’s clean sheet against the Mariners was pleasing but Sydney had to remain consistent to be a chance of making the finals.
“Consistency is the key,” he said.
“We haven’t had that this year – there’s no secret, there’s no hiding from it.”
Sydney’s defence will once again have to make do without Socceroos skipper Lucas Neill who is expected to remain on the sidelines despite returning to training on Thursday.
Farina says Neill would likely return to the side next week after recovering from a minor calf muscle tear.
“At this stage there’s no real point taking a risk with him,” he said.
“We’re not desperate at the moment.”