Bolstered Sydney gives Tavares added belief

Sydney FC midfielder Mickael Tavares is adamant the Sky Blues can go for broke and at least equal their finish to the 2014-2015 regular season now that they finally have a full squad of players.

Last season, Sydney won seven of their last nine games to finish second behind Melbourne Victory going into the finals series. Those two teams ended up meeting in the grand final, which the Sky Blues lost 3-0.

Tavares, the calm and composed anchor of the side in his holding midfielder role, said Sydney - particularly with captain and inspiration Alex Brosque finally back from a hamstring injury - are ready to get on a roll in the countdown to the finals.


The Sky Blues followed their derby win over Western Sydney Wanderers four rounds back with two losses and a draw and will certainly need to be on their game when they play an in-form Perth Glory side at Allianz Stadium on Saturday evening

Perth have won three in a row to move to within five points of the top six.

Tavares pointed to not only the return of Brosque for the game against Glory but a host of others - including Ali Abbas who is getting fitter after recently returning from a long-term knee injury, Olyroos commitments for the club's young stars having ended and the addition of former Socceroos wide-man David Carney.

When Sydney coach Graham Arnold named his squad for this match, there were no players unavailable for selection.

"I think in football every game is different, so sometimes you can win against teams at the top of the table, like Wanderers, and then not do so well against a team further down the table and it's hard to explain," Tavares said.

"But I think now, with everyone back from injury - 'Brosquey' is back, he's fit - and a new player like David Carney, who can help the team, the confidence level will be higher than it was in the last game we played, against Adelaide (a 2-2 draw).

"The game against Perth could be very important because the two Melbourne teams are playing against each other straight after and it's a great opportunity for us if we win this game. It would be a very good time to pick up points."

Melbourne City, in third place, Melbourne Victory (fourth) and Sydney (fifth) are all on 28 points. Sydney could go as high as third this weekend or as low as sixth.

It is a great opportunity for Sydney to start a run aimed at securing a top-four spot, at the very least, going into the finals, or maybe still a place in the top two.

"Last season we made a great run over the last nine rounds and I think, now, we're in a good position to do that again," Tavares said.

"The representative commitments are over for the young players, so there aren't any disruptions from players coming in and out of the side because of that or injuries. This is a very positive time for us.

"It's a really good atmosphere and we'll try to keep it like that until the end. I think we can be the same as last season. I like the feel at training, the confidence, so I think, yeah, we can go in a straight line to the end now. We have plenty of belief in our ability to do that."

A confident Perth bring with them a player arguably in the best form right now in Diego Castro, who is scoring plenty of goals and creating numerous opportunities for others with his skill and vision.

But Tavares said Sydney can't afford to make the mistake of concentrating too much on trying to shut down one player.

"He's in great form but we're not focused on only one player," he said.

"Every time we play against a team they're going to have some players in form. Our biggest enemy is ourselves - we have to play as a team and if we do that from the start to the finish we should be OK."

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4 min read
Published 13 February 2016 at 12:06pm
By Greg Prichard
Source: SBS