Ante Juric has revealed that he is beginning to see the best of his side having a completely new squad to work with this season.
From last season’s Grand Final, only four starters were in the side (Jada Whyman, Charlotte McLean, Kirsty Fenton & Princess Ibini) on Sunday night in Perth in a 0-0 draw against the ladder leaders Perth Glory.
And after taking so long to gel as a squad with games coming thick and fast, he believes that they are clicking when it matters most.
“That was the best game we have played this year in terms of energy, attacking, defending, all against a good team.
“We had maybe like 20 odd shots to their three so I am disappointed we didn’t get more out of the game,” he said.
“I always told our girls that by round seven or eight we are going to start hitting our straps. Last week was good and this week was too.
“The trip to Uzbekistan helped us a lot and now we are getting regular games and getting players back so I am happy with the progression.”
Ante Juric brought Cortnee Vine off the bench at half time as she continues to work her way back from injury, an injury that she picked up while on Matildas duty and he hinted at seeing more minutes from her on Friday night against Brisbane Roar.
“Cortnee’s been with the Matildas and at the World Cup and she has been very mentally exhausted and I could’ve started her tonight [Sunday night] but I don’t think it’s right.
“I’m also mindful of the remaining games we have in the 22 game season,” Juric said.
“She’s probably our best player so you want to start her, however Aideen [Keane] and Shea [Connors] can do a job anyway, but I’m glad she’s back though.”
Despite finding the form now and beginning to put in good performances, Ante Juric still feels like Nat Tobin’s absence is having a large impact on finding a way to win in tough matches.
“Losing Tobin was huge for us. She’s a superstar, she’s our heart.
“But these girls are learning to be leaders and they are still young so I am trying to teach them and to push them because you need leadership when times are tough or when you need someone to step up or be vocal.
“They’re too nice at the moment but they will develop that in time,” Juric said.
“We’ve got a lot of young kids, Maddie 16, Zara 17, Shay 18, so we need these experienced players but overall I think we’re in a good place.”
Most of all, the Head Coach is happy to see that his team are beginning to take on his ideas as we near a packed period of matches over the school holidays at Leichhardt Oval.
“We are trying to build a team and the fluency is getting a lot better and I can see the signs are getting there.
“They’re starting to get it, they’re starting to understand the selflessness we play with and positivity and relentlessness going forward.”
Catch Ante Juric and his side in action this Friday night against Brisbane Roar at Leichhardt Oval.
Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar
Liberty A-League Round Nine
Friday 22nd December 2033
Leichhardt Oval, Leichhardt, NSW
Kick Off: 7:00pm AEDT
Gates Open: 6:00pm AEDT
Broadcast Live: Paramount+ & 10Play
Tickets: Click Here