Strike Force: Defeat difficult to cop

HISTORIC NIGHT: The Sydney Derby broke the A-League record for the biggest attendance with more than 60,000 people at the game. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

HISTORIC NIGHT: The Sydney Derby broke the A-League record for the biggest attendance with more than 60,000 people at the game. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Derby defeats are difficult to take, but last weekend was particularly hard to cop.

After months of preparation, quite simply we weren’t good enough on the big stage.

To lose 4-0 to our biggest rivals is unacceptable for us as a playing group and a club.

On a night where we broke the A-League crowd record – which was something special in itself – we didn’t put in a performance to match.

Credit to our fans for coming out in their numbers to fill up the bulk of the 60,000 strong crowd, but unfortunately we were unable to deliver a much need derby win.

Up until half time I thought up until half time we were quite good.

On a night where we broke the A-League crowd record – which was something special in itself – we didn’t put in a performance to match. - Brendon Santalab

But in the second half things really dropped off and Sydney FC really made us pay for it.

We just didn’t take our chances and because of that, the game slipped away from us after the break.

At the other end, they were clinical and manage to catch us on the counter attack a couple of times in that second half.

If you give high quality side like the Sky Blues those sort of opportunities, they are going to take advantage every day of the week.

Defensively we know we can be better than we were.

Unfortunately we will have to do that without one of our new boys Aritz Borda this weekend against Adelaide United, who was given his marching orders following his last man challenge on Alex Brosque.

Our inspirational skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley also won’t be there.

He was granted permission from the club to chase an overseas deal on the eve of our second round match.

Topor has been a great servant for the club in recent years and any deal would be richly deserved after several outstanding seasons in the red and black.

Obviously it would be a big loss for us, but it will give the chance for someone else to step up and take the role with both hands.

Whoever that may be against Adelaide, I am confident they can do the job.

Like last week, you don’t need motivation to get up for a game like this.

United beat us in the decider last year and we want to bury that result at the first time of asking.

One thing is certain.

We won’t be travelling to the South Australia capital in search of a point.

We want to leave with much more than that.

There is no doubt we will need to improve our performance for that to happen but Adelaide will be looking for a similar sort of thing as well.

I’d imagine they would be reasonably satisfied with a first-up 1-1 draw away from home against Newcastle, but they will want to go one better in front of their home crowd.

There is no question they are a quality side and we won’t be underestimating at this early stage of the season. 

Obviously they have lost a fair few great players from their title winning team in the off-season so things will take a while to gel. 

Like us they are in a bit of a transition stage in terms of their squad and they’ll be feeling teams out as well.

It’s up to us to take advantage of that.

Round Two

Friday, 7.40pm

Adelaide United vs Western Sydney Wanderers

Coopers Stadium 

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