Graham Arnold credits his success at the helm of his record-breaking Sydney FC side with having “a long hard look at [himself] in the mirror” after his mediocre 7th-placed finish with the Sky Blues in the 2015-16 A-League season.
Arnold recalled completely revamping his attitude - and the Sydney FC squad - in the off-season, telling David Davutovic on FNR’s Football Q&A: “I was not happy with how I’d behaved that season.”
“When you lose, you learn,” he said. “If you’re not willing to change with the game, to evolve with the game, to evolve with people, then probably you’ll never learn.”
Speaking about the importance of player recruitment to developing his side, Arnold noted that for players “the biggest box they need to tick is around their character.”
“The questionnaire we posed to players was in and around why they want to come to Sydney FC, what’s more important, the individual or the team,” he said. “When they tick all those boxes, then we move further on with [their signing].”
Arnold highlighted the difficulty of achieving success with Central Coast Mariners where he was “working on 75% of the salary cap” in comparison to the well-resourced Sydney FC.
“I always say I feel like I’ve done the better job at the Mariners,” he said. “At Sydney FC you get the resources with the two marquees. At the Mariners I didn’t have any marquees.
“It made me work harder to create, develop and take more of a risk on the younger players.”
Arnold also reflected on his own playing career, wondering “how good those players in the late 80s would’ve been if they had the resources that we now have in the A-League.”
“I [worked as] a carpenter,” Arnold reflected. “I’d get up at 6 in the morning to go to work, work all day, get home at 4:30, have a sandwich and rush out to training with Sydney Croatia from 6 to 8:30.
“These days the resources are so much better, you’d like to see how much better those players would’ve been.”
Football Q&A airs every Wednesday from 5pm (AEST) hosted by David Davutovic on FNR_Football Nation Radio.