After their lacklustre showing against Brisbane, Sydney FC midfielder Nicky Carle has vowed to restore the faith of Sky Blues fans by giving them bragging rights over their cross-town rivals in this weekend's derby.
Just two games into the season, there was a sombre tone throughout the squad during Monday morning's training session as players were still reeling from the pain of their 4-0 defeat away to the Roar on Saturday. Carle, like many of his teammates, was still coming to terms with the Sky Blues' poor performance but said the club was determined to make it up to their supporters with a home defeat of the Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday.
"I think we owe it to our fans," Carle said. "I can't put it any other way, but we need to win."
The 31-year-old midfielder defended the tactics of coach Frank Farina in the heavy loss and said the players were to blame for their inability to mentally recover from conceding the opening goal.
The Sky Blues had only 38 per cent of possession and managed just one shot on target throughout the course of the match, compared with 12 by Brisbane, who struck nine of them from inside the box.
Farina was not present at Sydney's first training session after their loss to the Roar as he remained in Queensland on Monday for family matters. But Carle supported his coach's decision to deploy a deep defensive line and said the players had to be held accountable for a seven-minute capitulation in which they conceded three goals before the half-time break.
"Look, our structure was right but once we went down, we let it go for five or 10 minutes and the game was then out of our reach," Carle said. "They sort of nullified us by pressing up high. I felt they got it right and after we went a goal down, we let ourselves down.
"We didn't react right and I think that was the most disappointing thing out of it because before that, they didn't have too many chances. As a group, we know that there's so much more we have to give and we have to make it right against the Wanderers."
Carle would not reveal what was said in the post-match team talk but said it served as an early warning to the players before one of the biggest games of their season.
"It was a terrible change room to be in, for obvious reasons," he said. "We have to learn where we went wrong and we have to get ready for this massive game. If you ponder on that result all week and you're not ready for the next game, it's going to happen again."
The pressure for Sydney to bounce back in the derby will be great with a record crowd expected to file into Allianz Stadium for the first Sydney derby of the season. Less than 1000 tickets remained available to the general public as of Monday afternoon and Sydney FC are expecting to declare the match a sell-out in the coming days, which would put them on course to set a new record attendance for a home game.
The record of 35,419 was set in their first home game of last season, which was Alessandro Del Piero's new-home debut.
The guarantee of a near full house on Saturday evening will provide added motivation for Sydney FC to bounce back from their hapless defeat in Brisbane, says Carle, who believes the excitement of the rivalry will help erase the pain. "Disappointing is an understatement," he said.
"We've got a massive game this week and there's no better game to get back on track than with a derby against Western Sydney."