Frustrated by his club's sloppy play, Sydney coach Steve Corica says they have to improve a lot to nail down a top-two spot.
Sydney coach Steve Corica says his club will need to improve a lot to secure a top two spot.
The Sky Blues moved up three places to second with Saturday's 1-1 away draw with basement club Newcastle Jets.
However, they only hold that position on goal difference from three other teams, including two who have a game in hand.
Saturday's game followed the trend of several of Sydney's previous fixtures, with Corica's side creating, but not taking, several chances.
They needed a fortunate own goal to secure a share of the spoils against Newcastle.
Two-time grand final-winning coach Corica lamented their slow ball speed and inability to consistently get behind the Jets defence.
Corica said the right attitude, mindset and focus were the keys to Sydney eradicating the sloppy play that had afflicted them in recent weeks.
"There's five games to go but we have to do a lot better than what we did tonight," Corica said.
"We looked a little bit sloppy from the start we looked heavy and we need improve a lot to get that second spot
"There's a lot of hard work to do."
He will use an intra-squad training game on Tuesday to put minutes into English striker Adam Le Fondre, who recently rejoined the club after a stint with Indian Super League team Mumbai City.
The 34-year-old goal poacher hasn't played since March 14 and only started training on Saturday after finishing his quarantine period the day before.
Corica expected Le Fondre to be available for next Saturday's away clash with Western United.
He will use Tuesday's hitout to give a run to other players who may be needed more in the coming weeks, should Sydney lose personnel to the Socceroos and Olyroos squads.
"I think (forward) Trent (Buhagiar) also needs more game time as well to get his fitness up, and (defender) Benny Warland," Corica said.
"These kind of players are going to be valuable come the end of the season."
Newcastle coach Craig Deans was delighted with the debut of midfielder Jordan O'Doherty, who had just the one training session with the Jets.
O'Doherty joined from Western Sydney, with long serving Jet Steven Ugarkovic going In the opposite direction.
"I would imagine he is only going to keep improving and the more he understands how we play and the players around him, the better he should get," Deans said of O'Doherty.
"We wouldn't have done what we did with the swap if it wasn't going to benefit for the club now and also in the long term."
The weeks of speculation over whether Ugarkovic would be released to join Wanderers early before his contract started next season, was the latest distraction in a turbulent season for Newcastle, who on Saturday established a club record 12th straight game without a win.