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Saturday, December 15, 2012
Make or break for Sydney FC: Farina

By Liam FitzGibbon

Coach Frank Farina says the Christmas period is make or break for Sydney FC after another costly "mistake" against cross-town A-League rivals Western Sydney.

The Sky Blues suffered their first defeat under Farina, losing 2-0 as they were comprehensively outplayed by an enthusiastic Wanderers outfit at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.

Sydney failed to build on last week's confidence-building 2-1 victory over Wellington and Farina said the performance showed just how much work Sydney have ahead.

But the former Socceroos coach admits time is running out for the last-placed side and predicted a run of three games in 10 days over Christmas could define their season.

Sydney travel to Newcastle on Saturday before backing up to face the competition's top two sides, Central Coast (home, December 27) and Adelaide (away, December 31).

"Without doubt (it's crucial)," Farina said.

"For all teams it's a busy period and if you can pick up points it could stand you in good stead towards the end of the season.

"But we've started from behind the pack and we haven't got a lot of time for mistakes.

"(Last night) was a mistake."

Despite welcoming back Socceroos Brett Emerton and Terry Antonis, and the return of Alessandro Del Piero off the bench, Sydney offered barely anything in attack against a well-organised Wanderers defence.

But Farina suggested hard work was the key turning things around rather than shaking up the team too much but said he would have to be cautious in training with a heavy schedule of games coming up.

"You can't be silly and really belt them a lot because you'll just get a team that's flat and won't be able to turn up on the weekend," Farina said.

"What we've got to do is work hard, short and sharp and try and get into what we want to do."

Del Piero had little impact in a 20-minute stint off the bench for Sydney having battled a hamstring problem in recent weeks.

But Farina hoped the marquee star's light duties would boost his chances of returning to the starting line-up against the Jets.

Jason Culina played 70 minutes as he continues his comeback from a career-threatening knee injury and Farina said he would soon be ready to play a full match.

"He's getting up to virtually full fitness .. but he plays in the role where it's pretty busy so we don't want to break him either," Farina said.




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