Sydney FC coach Steve Corica has sent Melbourne Victory a blunt message: you cannot afford to stumble in Adelaide tonight.
Speaking last night (Thurs) after Sydney FC defeated newly crowned A-League Premiers Perth Glory 1-0 in the Harbour City, Corica was immediately on the offensive with his mind games.
“Victory know they have to win tomorrow [Friday] otherwise second place is gone, so our result tonight puts a lot of pressure on them.
“I’m sure Adelaide will give them a really good game.”
Victory on 47 points must win to stay within touching distance of the Sky Blues on 52 points.
With one round left in the regular season, Kevin Muscat’s Victory will need to win at Hindmarsh and hope Sydney FC lose in the final round to have any chance of finishing in second place.
And with Adelaide desperate to cling onto the fourth spot on the ladder to ensure a home final, tonight will be a cracker at Hindmarsh.
The second spot is crucial going into the A-League Finals Series given both top sides have the first week off in the Finals.
This means for Victory or Sydney - who've also been battling on the continental front in the Champions League - there'll be a vital week's rest as their reward.
And with one less knockout game to win, the top two sides in the A-League usually end up meeting in the grand final.
Corica knows that.
“It could be the matchup in the [grand] final but there’s plenty of football left to be played and it’s a mental game now because we have beaten them [Glory] twice now.
“Every game is important here and we needed three points to put pressure on Melbourne tomorrow.
“They’ve had a very good season Perth and congratulations to them for winning the Premiers Plate but our boys were fantastic tonight.
“They had players out tonight but so did we, having Zullo out and also Brosque so we’ll have to wait and see what happens if we meet them again.”