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The Italian's job: Del Piero ready to get Sky Blues back on track

Date

Sebastian Hassett

Back ... Alessandro Del Piero training on Thursday after shaking off an injury.

Back ... Alessandro Del Piero training on Thursday after shaking off an injury. Photo: Nick Moir

Alessandro Del Piero turns 38 on Friday - but the only present he wants is for Sydney FC to claim all three points in Saturday's ''Big Blue'' against Melbourne Victory.

The Italian star missed last weekend's miserable 7-2 hammering at the hands of Central Coast with a hamstring injury but has been passed fit to play at Allianz Stadium.

His inclusion cannot come quick enough for the Sky Blues, who were outclassed without their marquee star. Asked if there was a ''main area'' Sydney could improve on, Del Piero joked it was impossible to pick just one.

''The main area? What? Maybe everything if we saw the last match,'' he said after training after on Thursday. ''We talked a lot, I don't think too much, but a lot about last Saturday. It's a really bad loss for us. We are really disappointed about what's happened. But Saturday, we have another match.

''If we think too much about what happened last Saturday, maybe we go on the field with some fear or something and it's not positive. That's why we have to take time to analyse everything and do better, for sure.''

Sydney looked forlorn without their No.10 in Gosford. He's scored three goals in four games and without him, and with captain Terry McFlynn warming the bench, there was a lack of leadership when the match was up for grabs in the second half. Instead, Sydney copped four goals in 11 minutes, turning a potential thriller into a nightmare that will haunt the club for years.

However, Del Piero said the response had been ''very good'' in training. ''We understand about last Saturday and that it's something unusual. But it happened only last Saturday, not another time,'' he said. ''We are working to [correct] that. We are working for a win. Next Saturday, I hope, is the perfect situation. That's why I try to joke because if we think about it too much, maybe there will be much pressure on us.''

Historically the biggest rivalry in the A-League, the match is arguably Australia's version of the Derby d'Italia - the game played between Del Piero's former club Juventus and Inter Milan. The veteran is hoping there are no omens in Inter's 3-1 win at Juve last weekend.

''I understand that Saturday's match will be the most important,'' he said. ''That's why we have, I hope, a focus on our teammates and our game. I want to go into Saturday's game with a lot of energy and passion.

''I understand it's a new atmosphere for a game in Australia. I know what is happening in a game like this in Italy and Europe but not here. I'm also curious and excited about what will happen.''

Del Piero didn't take part in the main session of training on Thursday but that shouldn't be a cause of alarm to those wondering if he'll play. Like the other forwards, he was instead participating in some attack-specific skills and combinations.

He'll have to get used to working with Panamanian striker Yairo Yau, too, for they've not yet started a match together. However, Yau was the pick of Sydney's players against the Mariners, scoring once and setting up the other, and his pace could complement Del Piero's precision.

Though Del Piero stopped midway through the session to put a compression strap on his left hamstring, the forward is hardly worried about being hampered by the injury against Victory.

''[I'm] feeling good day by day. I'm happier today because I am training with the team all the time,'' he said. ''We have to check tomorrow with some stronger work, but I have a good feeling for Saturday.''

The former Azzurri star also brushed off concerns about whether the injury would affect him in the coming weeks. ''No, I stopped for a precaution [last week] and it's the right way, definitely,'' he said. ''And I think for Saturday it will be OK.''

Del Piero might not know much about Australian football but he already knows that Victory are the league's biggest club and has been doing his own scouting on Ange Postecoglou's side.

He spent Tuesday in the opulent Lavazza marquee at the Melbourne Cup, crossing paths with Wellington Phoenix players who played against Melbourne Victory the night before. After having no luck with his Melbourne Cup pick - Ethiopia finished dead last - he didn't mind hitting up the New Zealanders for some tips about how to get the better of this week's opposition.

''I have to win in the soccer, not the betting,'' he laughed. ''I saw Victory's last win [3-2 against Phoenix on Monday] and I spoke on Tuesday with some guys from Wellington and they tell me the same - they are good team, a very good team.

''But we are at home. We need our fans and our crowd and we need to win. That will give us enough energy on the field.''

Describing it as ''very important'' that the team bounced back to winning ways, Del Piero said Sydney were prepared to get physical with Victory if that's what it took.

''Maybe, yes,'' he said. ''Every game is different but I think Saturday will be a strong and physical match also.''

Hyundai A - 2014-15 - All Rounds

Round 1
Fri, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
VIC 4 vs WSW 1 Stats
Sat, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1 vs NEW Stats
SYD 1 vs MCY 1 Stats
Sun, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1 vs PER 2 Stats
BRI 1 vs ADE 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 17 OctTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1 vs VIC 1 Stats
Sat, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1 vs WEL 2 Stats
SYD 3 vs WSW 2 Stats
Sun, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
MCY 1 vs NEW 1 Stats
PER 3 vs BRI 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 24 OctTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs SYD 2 Stats
Sat, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
VIC 5 vs MCY 2 Stats
Sun, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WEL 4 vs NEW 1 Stats
ADE 2 vs PER Stats
Wed, 19 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSW vs CCM Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
MCY 1 vs ADE 2 Stats
Sat, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
PER 2 vs NEW 1 Stats
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
SYD 2 vs CCM Stats
Mon, 03 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC 2 vs WEL Stats
Wed, 03 DecTimes shown AEDT
WSW vs BRI 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 07 NovTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1 vs WSW Stats
ADE vs SYD Stats
Sat, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW 2 vs VIC 2 Stats
BRI 1 vs MCY 3 Stats
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs PER 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 14 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs BRI 4 Stats
Sat, 15 NovTimes shown AEDT
ADE 2 vs WEL 1 Stats
SYD vs VIC Stats
PER 2 vs WSW 1 Stats
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
MCY 2 vs CCM 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 21 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC 1 vs BRI Stats
PER 2 vs WEL 1 Stats
Sat, 22 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSW 1 vs NEW 1 Stats
MCY 1 vs SYD 2 Stats
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs ADE 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 28 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC 3 vs ADE 2 Stats
Sat, 29 NovTimes shown AEDT
BRI 1 vs PER 1 Stats
WSW 1 vs SYD 1 Stats
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
WEL 5 vs MCY 1 Stats
NEW 1 vs CCM 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Thu, 04 DecTimes shown AEDT
SYD 1 vs PER 2 Stats
Fri, 05 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs VIC 3 Stats
Sat, 06 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW 1 vs WEL 3 Stats
ADE 2 vs WSW Stats
Sun, 07 DecTimes shown AEDT
MCY 1 vs BRI Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 12 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs BRI 1 Stats
PER 2 vs NEW Stats
Sat, 13 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1 vs CCM 1 Stats
VIC 3 vs SYD 3 Stats
Wed, 11 MarTimes shown AEDT
WSW 3 vs MCY 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 19 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW 2 vs ADE 1 Stats
Sat, 20 DecTimes shown AEDT
MCY 1 vs VIC Stats
PER 4 vs CCM 1 Stats
Sun, 21 DecTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs WEL 2 Stats
Wed, 25 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI 1 vs WSW 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 26 DecTimes shown AEDT
MCY 1 vs PER 1 Stats
SYD vs ADE 3 Stats
Sat, 27 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM 3 vs BRI 3 Stats
VIC 1 vs NEW Stats
Sun, 28 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1 vs WSW Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Tue, 30 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW 2 vs MCY 5 Stats
BRI vs SYD Stats
Wed, 31 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1 vs WEL 3 Stats
Thu, 01 JanTimes shown AEDT
WSW vs CCM Stats
Fri, 02 JanTimes shown AEDT
VIC 1 vs PER 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Sat, 03 JanTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs NEW Stats
Sun, 04 JanTimes shown AEDT
WEL 3 vs BRI Stats
CCM 2 vs MCY Stats
Mon, 05 JanTimes shown AEDT
PER 1 vs ADE 2 Stats
Tue, 06 JanTimes shown AEDT
WSW 1 vs VIC 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Sat, 24 JanTimes shown AEDT
ADE 7 vs NEW Stats
CCM 1 vs SYD 5 Stats
Sun, 25 JanTimes shown AEDT
PER 3 vs VIC 3 Stats
Sun, 01 FebTimes shown AEDT
MCY 2 vs WSW 1 Stats
Mon, 02 FebTimes shown AEDT
BRI 3 vs WEL 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 06 FebTimes shown AEDT
NEW 1 vs BRI 2 Stats
Sat, 07 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM 2 vs ADE 1 Stats
VIC 3 vs MCY Stats
PER 1 vs SYD 3 Stats
Sun, 08 FebTimes shown AEDT
WSW 2 vs WEL Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs BRI 2 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs MCY Stats
NEW 1 vs WSW 1 Stats
SYD 3 vs VIC 3 Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1 vs PER 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
SYD 4 vs CCM 2 Stats
ADE 2 vs WSW 1 Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
WEL 2 vs NEW 2 Stats
MCY vs PER Stats
Wed, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI vs VIC 19:40Suncorp Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
MCY 3 vs ADE 1 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs CCM Stats
WSW 3 vs SYD 4 Stats
PER 2 vs BRI 2 Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
VIC 2 vs WEL 3 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs SYD 1 Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL 2 vs ADE Stats
VIC 1 vs PER 1 Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1 vs MCY Stats
BRI 1 vs WSW Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Thu, 12 MarTimes shown AEDT
ADE 2 vs CCM 1 Stats
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
WSW vs VIC 3 Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
MCY 4 vs NEW Stats
PER 1 vs WEL 2 Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD 5 vs BRI 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs MCY 1 Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
WSW 1 vs NEW 2 Stats
ADE 2 vs VIC 2 Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1 vs PER 1 Stats
BRI 1 vs WEL 2 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
VIC 2 vs CCM 1 Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
MCY 1 vs BRI Stats
PER 3 vs WSW 2 Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs SYD 3 Stats
NEW vs ADE 1 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs CCM 20:00Suncorp Stadium
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
WSW vs MCY 19:40Pirtek Stadium
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs ADE 19:30Allianz Stadium
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL vs VIC 17:00Westpac Stadium
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
NEW vs PER 17:00Hunter Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
VIC vs NEW 19:40AAMI Park
PER vs SYD 21:45nib Stadium
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
ADE vs BRI 17:00Coopers Stadium
CCM vs WSW 19:30Central Coast Stadium
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
MCY vs WEL 17:00AAMI Park
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL vs CCM 17:30Westpac Stadium
NEW vs SYD 19:45Hunter Stadium
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
WSW vs ADE 17:00Pirtek Stadium
BRI vs VIC 19:30Suncorp Stadium
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
PER vs MCY 17:00nib Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 27
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI vs NEW 19:40Suncorp Stadium
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
WSW vs PER 17:00Pirtek Stadium
ADE vs MCY 19:30Coopers Stadium
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL vs SYD 15:00Westpac Stadium
VIC vs CCM 17:00AAMI Park
View All Fixtures
Round 28
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
vs 15:00TBC
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
vs 15:00TBC
View All Fixtures
Round 29
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
vs 15:00TBC
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
vs 16:00TBC
View All Fixtures
Round 30
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
vs 16:00TBC
View All Fixtures
Hyundai A - 2014-15 - Ladder
Overall standings
Team P W L +/- Pts
Wellington Phoenix 23 13 7 13 42
Melbourne Victory 22 11 3 19 41
Sydney FC 23 11 4 13 41
Perth Glory 23 11 4 8 41
Adelaide United 23 12 7 13 40
Melbourne City FC 23 9 8 0 33
Brisbane Roar 22 7 11 -6 25
Central Coast Mariners 23 4 11 -17 20
View all
 
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