ON THE BALL: Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold has led his side to five straight wins to start the A-League season.
ON THE BALL: Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold has led his side to five straight wins to start the A-League season. DAVID MOIR

Why Graham Arnold's among best coaches in the game

WHEN he finally decides to call it quits on his coaching career, Graham Arnold, no doubt, will reflect on a job well done.

He took the unfancied Central Coast Mariners to two A-League grand finals - winning one - and a minor premiership, and has become one of the most respected Australian coaches.

He had a win percentage of more than 52% with the Mariners and despite a horror run towards the end of last season, his record with Sydney FC is not too bad either, winning 37 and drawing 21 of the 76 games he has been in charge of.

In terms of Australian coaches Arnold is up there alongside Ange Postecoglou, but without the recognition of the Socceroos coach.

Arnold deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Postecoglou. I don't like the term "supercoach”, as it's bandied around too often, but as far as mentors in this country are concerned, Arnold deserves high praise.

Arnold comes across as being a no-nonsense type of bloke but at the same time looks to have a sound knowledge of the game and how to deal with certain types of players.

As a coach it is sometimes hard to know how to deal with squad members.

Some like an arm around the shoulder, some a kick up the backside and others need to be left alone to deal with problems - if there are any - on their own.

Arnold seems to be able to have that empathy with his players but also knows when to put the boot in.

It was interesting to read his quotes after the 2-1 win over the Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.

"It just shows you the great team spirit we've got,” Arnold told Fox Sports.

"I'm having to disappoint players (and) leave them on the bench, but they're thinking of the team first.”

Arnold probably knew he got lucky, the first of David Carney's two goals came after a clear handball.

But what he and his team showed was that this year there is a unity and also some patience too.

Sydney had not beaten the Victory in nine straight games but kept plugging away and at last luck went its way.

The Sky Blues have won five on the bounce to start the A-League season and already have nine wins in total this campaign.

They are headed for the FFA Cup final at the end of the month and look to be a real contender for a first A-League grand final win since 2006.

This match was the start of a tough run for Sydney with matches against Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide before the FFA Cup decider with Melbourne City on November 30.

Nothing is easy in the A-League and Sydney FC will need to continue its good form to convince people it is a genuine contender, but judging by this latest performance, it probably is.



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