Sydney’s O’Neill ready to ‘rock and roll’ against Roar

Sydney FC midfielder Brandon O'Neill believes the Sky Blues will throw their defensive approach out the window when they return home to Allianz Stadium for Saturday night's game against Brisbane Roar.

Sydney FC

Source: Getty Images



Coach Graham Arnold was widely criticised for taking a very defensive approach into Sydney's last two games, both on the road.

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Sydney beat Western Sydney Wanderers 2-1 in a game in which Wanderers had more chances but couldn't finish them off. Melbourne Victory then beat Sydney 1-0, courtesy of an own goal from defender Matt Jurman.

Neither Arnold nor his players apologise for not being proactive in those games and say that the approach is designed to suit the situation and give the Sky Blues the best chance of winning.

However, O'Neill believes his side will be more creative when going forward at home against Brisbane because they believe is gives them the best chance of winning.

"This week we can take it to Brisbane and try to attack a bit more," O'Neill said.

"We're back at home now. We want to press and win the ball back higher up the field and create a lot more chances and score more goals.

"I thought we defended brilliantly against Victory and Wanderers. We got the win against Wanderers and we stopped everything that Victory were trying to do, but unfortunately an own goal denied us a point."

Despite the call to push forward, O'Neill doesn’t believe his team will turn gung-ho and is adamant that an increased willingness to attack will be complimented by a strong defence.

"It's coming from everyone, every single player at Sydney FC and the coaching staff, because we know how good our defence is and we know how good our attack is, but we just need to show it in attack a bit more," O’Neill said.

"We're ready to rock and roll on Saturday night.

"I'm looking forward to us playing back at home and being able to express ourselves and get some goals and get the three points. Hopefully I can play a part. If we play well and play our football, we'll get the win and move on."

O'Neill was an unused substitute against Victory. He had only just returned from the Australian under-23 side's unsuccessful campaign to qualify for this year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Fellow Olyroo Andrew Hoole came off the bench, while Alex Gersbach was not named in the squad.

All three players have been included in an extended squad for this match, while Brisbane's three representatives from the Olyroos campaign in Qatar, Jamie Maclaren, Brandon Borrello and James Donachie, have also been included.

Roar have desperately missed striker Maclaren and winger Borrello. Maclaren is certain to be slotted straight back into the starting side against Sydney and Borrello is bound to play a significant role either as a starter or coming off the bench.

O'Neill said Sydney must be ready for the pair.

"They're quality players and we have to be wary  not only of them but how the team plays when they're a part of it," O’Neill said.

"They're a different outfit with Jamie up front and Brandon, who's a real livewire, on the wing.

"I think we'll have to expect them to play and because of what they bring we'll have to match up very well against them."


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3 min read
Published 29 January 2016 at 11:53am
By Greg Prichard