Sydney FC expectations a burden: Harper
Sydney FC need to snap out of their perennial crisis mode and learn to deal with the great expectations placed on them, the club's former chief executive Andy Harper says.
The Sky Blues suffered their second successive loss on Saturday going down 2-0 to Western Sydney following their humbling 4-0 defeat to Brisbane.
Adding to their woes utility Rhyan Grant, who was invaluable for Sydney last season, suffered a season-ending knee injury during the heated derby, joining Terry Antonis (thigh) and Peter Triantis (groin) on the long-term injury list.
And while the likes of key midfielder Brett Emerton (back) and defender Pedj Bojic (calf) are due back for the trip to Perth this weekend, inspirational skipper Alessandro Del Piero (calf) is still in doubt.
Fans who turned out at Allianz Stadium in record numbers on Saturday already have the right to feel disillusioned about their prospects this season and with coach Frank Farina.
Since the defeat the club has gone to ground, with the usually open training sessions closed to media during the week.
And Harper, who oversaw the club during their championship-winning inaugural season in 2005/06, says one of their biggest problems has been the inability to cope with the pressure of expectation.
"Crisis mode seems to be a default position for the club," Fox Sports commentator Harper told AAP on Monday.
"They're so often in reaction mode.
"They embrace the amount of expectation that comes with being Sydney FC but they haven't, over the course of the club's history, ever been able to bed down a structure that can manage that expectation."
There have been many casualties of that pressure with current boss Tony Pignata Sydney's seventh chief executive in as many years and Farina the seventh coach to guide the side.
Harper feels the lack of stability, in everything from the playing group to the leadership, has cost the club.
"The constant changing and the struggle to find what is a successful winning formula has been an elusive thing for Sydney FC, it hasn't allowed anyone to actually build anything," he said.
Not since clinching the 2009/10 championship have the Sky Blues really looked like challenging for the title.
Harper, however, says he has no doubt the Sky Blues can rediscover their winning form and backed Farina as the man to get the club back on track.
He says while Farina may not have chosen the best recruits to rebuild the squad, the coach's hands many have been tied in many respects and drawing comparisons with cross-town rival Tony Popovic is unfair.
"There's no doubt they can get back," he said.
"But it's going to be difficult to turn things around in the short-term.
"Frank with the right team I think is the right man long-term.
"I don't think the team's been brilliantly recruited but it's difficult to judge off just one off-season window.
"Tony Popovic has been able to build his whole team from scratch so it's an unfair comparison.
"Frank hasn't been able to come in and clean the decks totally and really re-energise the team.
"But that's the challenge he's got, it's his responsibility and it will be a test of how he get's through the tough times."