Arnold optimistic despite worst performance of the season

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A disjointed Sydney FC display proved enough for the A-League leaders to drop their first points at home this season after a 0-0 draw against a resolute Adelaide United.

The game was characterised by its scrappiness and scarcity of chances for both teams, but Sydney manager Graham Arnold remained upbeat despite admitting his side were not at their best.

“We have to be honest, the players are disappointed in their own performance. But we still tried to go forward, tried to dictate the game, and I was still very happy with the effort we put in,” he said.

With just five efforts on target between the two teams chances were at a premium, and Sydney weren’t helped by a largely anonymous display from marquee forward Bobo.

However, Arnold was quick to defend his Brazilian forward from criticism.

“Bobo is working very hard for the team, but he didn’t get a lot of service tonight – it just wasn’t at the level that it had been for the first seven games.”

The Sky Blues remain undefeated and seven points clear at the top of the A-League ladder, and Arnold suggested that this provided opponents extra motivation when up against his side – a factor they will have to learn to deal with.

“We were up against a desperate team tonight, one whose pride was hurting,” he said.

“I told the boys that every team is going to lift when they play us, and we’re going to have to lift as well.

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Arnold confirmed that skipper Alex Brosque, who made a 30 minute second half cameo off the bench, had been rested for Wednesday night’s FFA Cup Final against Melbourne City.

“We have a very open and honest relationship, so we didn’t want to put him in a position of three full games in a week after his injury last year. But he’ll start on Wednesday night for sure.

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While it didn’t click for Sydney, Adelaide’s controlled and at times fluid performance proved that the defending champions’ place at the bottom of the ladder may not stay that way for long.

The Reds secured the point on the back of a much improved defensive display, having failed to keep a clean sheet for the first seven fixtures of the season.

Still winless, Adelaide’s stand-in coach Pau Marti was nonetheless happy at his sides display.

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“To get a point here was a good result, and the clean sheet is good for the team. The way that we played, and with the chances we created I thought we deserved three points,” he said.

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