Observer … Frank Farina watches Sydney FC at training on Saturday before the club's game against Melbourne Heart. Photo: Anthony Johnson
FRANK FARINA was a keen observer at his first training session as Sydney FC coach on Saturday, letting interim coach Steve Corica keep the reins, and he will do the same when the beleaguered side takes on Melbourne Heart on Sunday.
Farina will steer clear of the coalface, preferring to analyse from afar the huge task he has to lead the resurgence of the last-placed Sky Blues.
''Stevie's been working with the squad all week,'' Farina said. ''As big a game as it is tomorrow, you don't want to be confusing them. So I said to Steve 'You continue on from what you've been doing all week' … I'll most probably pop down before the game, at half-time and after the game. I won't be sitting on the sideline.''
On Wednesday, Farina was announced as the replacement for Ian Crook, who quit abruptly last month after a string of poor results.
The former Socceroo described his appointment as a great personal opportunity. He said his observations of the Sky Blues this season were that they had struggled with injuries and bad luck but, ''at the end of the day, the table doesn't lie''.
He was non-committal about whether he would install Italian great Alessandro Del Piero as captain, saying it was largely irrelevant. He said he would have no problems keeping a dressing room ranging from teenagers to legends in unison, but admitted an immediate challenge was to raise the players' collective confidence. He concluded, almost apologetically, that making the finals was not the obvious goal. Rather, in a situation like this, winning the next game is all that matters.
''There's a lot of cliches - I could stand here and put them out for you - but finals is not a word we're going to mention too much,'' Farina said.
''It will virtually be every game as it comes. I get tired of hearing that from coaches all the time, but that's the reality. The situation I've come into now, that's how you have to look at it, game by game.
''It's a fight. A tough fight. And we've got to be up for it. I know I'm prepared to fight and I know, definitely, the players who are here, they'd better be prepared to fight. We're sitting in a position that the club's not accustomed to and we need to get ourselves out of this, as a group, as a club. I'm hoping I can help that, in terms of the 19 games we've got coming up.''
Farina scotched concerns over the players' motivation levels, saying they wouldn't be professional footballers if they didn't have the desire to win.
''The thing that wanes sometimes is confidence,'' he said. ''How do you regain confidence? By results … A win can turn it around pretty quickly, a good performance can turn it around.
''But ambition, desire, it's always there, otherwise they wouldn't be professional footballers.''
It was a typically no-frills, straight-shooting, first-up performance from Farina.
''Contracts are hardly worth the paper they're written on half the time,'' he said when asked about his part-season signing.
''You can have a long-term contract and if things don't work out, you're out the door. That's the reality of professional football, that's the reality of big clubs.''
Of the captaincy, he said: ''That will come out in the future. The captaincy issue's only an issue, I think, for people on the outside … But my immediate goal is not to appoint a captain but to get a side back on track.''