• Sydney's style suits Alex Gersbach's game (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Sydney FC defender Alex Gersbach said master coach Guus Hiddink's favourable assessment of the way the team plays had served as positive reinforcement for the players going into Saturday night's away game against Perth Glory.
By
Greg Prichard

20 Nov 2015 - 8:34 AM  UPDATED 20 Nov 2015 - 1:32 PM

Hiddink was a guest at Allianz Stadium for last Saturday's Big Blue, when Sydney went down 4-2 against Melbourne Victory, and then attended Sydney's training session on Monday at the invitation of Sky Blues coach Graham Arnold.

Arnold and Hiddink go back a long way, of course, to those famous times when Hiddink was Australia coach and Arnold his assistant with the team that qualified for the FIFA World Cup finals in 2006 to break a 32-year drought for the Socceroos.

Eighteen-year-old left-back Gersbach, who had a super game in a beaten side in the Big Blue, said what Hiddink told the players at training was great to hear.

"He spoke to all of the boys as a group and said he really liked what he saw on the weekend and he thought we should have got more out of the game as well," Gersbach said. "He was really positive about the way we play and he had a good chat to the boys and gave us a bit of motivation.

"He liked our style. He really enjoys that style of play and he let us know about it. It's really encouraging for someone like him to come in and not only chat to the boys but give us his honest view on what we're doing.

"We were out on the training field when he came and spoke to us and then he had lunch with us as well. Whenever he talks, everyone just shuts up and listens and really takes note of what he's saying and to have people like that around every once in a while is very important.

"We play a positive style of football and it encourages us a lot to hear from someone like Guus Hiddink that it's the right way to go. I guess it's sort of the Dutch style, isn't it, and it's no surprise we play that way since 'Arnie' coached with Guus and also played in the Dutch competition."

The Big Blue saw Gersbach get his first start for the season after twice being used off the bench in the earlier rounds. He was constantly dangerous going forward and plans to continue with that trend against Perth.

The Sydney fullbacks appear to have even more rein to attack this season and that suits Gersbach with his ability to take players on and get past them.

"We've signed two new players in Filip Holosko and Milos Ninkovic who are more creative players and they like to come inside from the wide spots further forward and pick up the ball more, so I guess that places a greater emphasis on the fullbacks when we're attacking," Gersbach said.

"Bernie Ibini was an outlet we could get the ball to on the break last season, but with Bernie gone now I hope I'll be able to get forward more this year, which will allow Milos to come inside more and create things, as he's been doing.

"You see all over the world these days in modern football the fullbacks are pretty much fullbacks and wingers at the same time. It's something I really like.

"It was a massive game, the Big Blue. I would've liked for us to have gotten three points, but it wasn't to be. I was happy with my own performance, I felt I put my best foot forward, but I can't get carried away with that. I've got to make sure I maintain that form throughout the season.

"We did cop four goals at home, so we've got to fix that side of things and tighten up in defence and I'm sure we'll do that this week against Perth."

The loss to Victory was Sydney's first defeat this season, but Gersbach said it hadn't damaged morale.

"Victory didn't have that many chances, really, but they were so clinical and that was the difference in the end," he said. "We probably dominated the game, to be honest, but at the end of the day they scored four goals at our home, so I guess that means they deserved to win.

"The mood hasn't changed. We know we put in a good performance, but the result didn't quite come and this week that's what has to change. We'll be happy if we put in the same performance against Perth, as long as we take our chances this time."