Ufuk Talay and Giancarlo Italiano, better known as Chiefy, worked alongside each other at Wellington Phoenix for four years.
They have grown close friends over that time and for the first time since parting ways at the end of last season, will meet at Allianz Stadium this Friday when Chiefy’s Wellington Phoenix take on Talay’s Sydney FC.
Both men have come through the Sydney FC coaching ranks to get to where they are now and despite being on opposite teams this season, call each other on a regular basis.
“He is one of my greatest mates and a guy who stood beside me for four seasons and we both want to have success in what we do and at the end of the day, he is doing a job there and I am doing a job here.
“We still chat. I spoke to him on Christmas Day to wish him a Merry Christmas and that always leads to a football conversation,” Talay said.
“My job is to win the game for the club I represent and he’s going to do the same for his.
“I haven’t seen him in a while so it will be good to catch up at the game but the focus remains on us and playing a certain brand of football.”
Having spent so long at the Phoenix, Talay knows the roster so well, and this will come at an advantage to him knowing their abilities and how they usually play.
“Chiefy has them very well organised and they defend as a unit and get behind the ball so it is one of those games where we are going to have to work hard to break them down but be wary when they have the ball,” Talay said.
“He’s [Chiefy] got them in a good place and they are top of the table for a reason. They defend well and capitalise on their chances.
“I think that he knows me very well and what I like to do and vice versa but we’ll always come up with an idea that we feel is best to get the outcome that is designed.”
Last weekend, Ufuk Talay wasn’t happy with his squad’s efforts despite getting the three points against Western United and he took the opportunity to improve this week.
“It’s always easier to point things out when you win a game and we got the three points that some of our performances have needed but I think there is always room for improvement.
“It’s been more tactical this week than previous weeks but it’s always easier to fix moments after you win the game,” Talay added.
“Yes the result is important, but for me I want to win playing a certain game of football. It’s risk versus reward.
“We’ve seen it previously in games like when we did it with ten men against Macarthur, so we just have to continue to do that this weekend.”
See Ufuk Talay’s side in action this Friday at Allianz Stadium when he takes on Chiefy’s Phoenix as two friends go head to head.
Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix
Isuzu UTE A-League Round 10
Friday 29th December 2023
Allianz Stadium, Sydney, NSW
Kick Off: 7:45pm AEDT
Gates Open: 4:30pm AEDT
Broadcast Live: Paramount+
Tickets: Click Here
Matchday Partner: Navarra Venues