JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

McFlynn says officials must guard Del Piero

Date

Sebastian Hassett

Terry McFlynn ... has called on officials to protect Alessandro Del Piero.

Terry McFlynn ... has called on officials to protect Alessandro Del Piero. Photo: Getty Images

SYDNEY FC captain Terry McFlynn has warned that if referees don't protect Alessandro Del Piero, fans will not be able to see the Italian play at his best.

After a week in which he ran riot in a 7-1 win over Wellington, scoring four goals and setting up another, Del Piero was closely marked on Saturday night by Melbourne Victory's defensive midfield pairing of Leigh Broxham and Mark Milligan, who gave the Italian little room to move.

On several occasions Del Piero felt he was fouled only for referee Chris Beath to wave play on, much to the former Juventus star's disbelief.

McFlynn reckons the Sydney marquee man was right to feel aggrieved but conceded Melbourne Victory's electric winger Marco Rojas was in a similar situation and said both deserved more protection.

''I haven't watched the game again but I think Rojas and Alessandro were the two most creative players last night and when you've got dangerous, skilful players like them, they're always going to draw attention and fouls from the opposition defenders,'' McFlynn said.

''In the case of Alessandro, he draws so much focus from defenders - the entire opposition, in fact. I'm not sure what the stats are but he's got to be the most fouled player in the whole league and that doesn't count all the times he gets tackled unfairly and doesn't get a free-kick.''

McFlynn warned that if defenders were allowed too much leeway, creative players would quickly become victims. ''It's been spoken about before that these top-quality players like Alessandro and Rojas, we need to see them on the park week in, week out,'' he said. ''If they're not getting protection, they're not going to be on the park if they're injured.''

The skipper said his side never came to grips with the way Victory approached the game until the sting was out of the contest.

''All credit to Melbourne, they stopped us from playing out from the back and playing our natural game,'' McFlynn said. ''They closed us down very quickly and you see that with all Ange Postecoglou's teams over the years. They press with a lot of purpose all over the park and, when they've got the ball and we're defending, they try to keep it for long periods of time and try to pull us out of position.

''All in all, I don't think we kept the ball for long enough periods to stamp our own mark on the game.''

Sydney will find out in 24 hours about the fate of injured Brett Emerton. The 33-year-old had to leave the field early in the first half with what coach Frank Farina described as ''most likely a neural problem''.

''We had a chat this morning and he's going to have a scan at the earliest opportunity,'' McFlynn said. ''After that we'll have a much clearer idea of whether he'll be fit for this weekend.''

The biggest question for Sydney before next week's game against the Newcastle Jets will be who comes in at left-back for the suspended Fabio. Adam Griffiths is likely to replace Tiago Calvano, who also saw red against the Victory.

''Young Rhyan Grant slotted in pretty well the other week when Fabio was out,'' McFlynn said. ''He's certainly an option, and we could probably bring in Trent McClenahan to play on the right and send Grant to the left.

''Young Daniel Petkovski is a natural left-footer and can play at left-back as well.''

Featured advertisers