Unsatisfied Arnie says 'We'll be back'
HE has claimed the Championship, the Premier's Plate and guided his team through an unprecedented record-breaking season, but Graham Arnold says he still wants more.
Arnold became the third A-League coach in history to win the championship with two different teams after Sydney FC's dramatic Grand Final win over Melbourne Victory on penalties.
The Sky Blues won the premiership by 17 points and lost just a single game all season, but Arnold says the goal now is to do it all again at an even higher level, particularly now that he has the majority of his squad locked in for another season.
"I'm never happy," he said. "I'm happy we've done everything, but the next thing I have to do is raise the level even more. I'm happy for the boys, that's the most important thing.
"Wherever I work I always try to create high standards that need to be reached. The question is how high the standards can be. For me I think we can go higher, we can get better."
But Arnold did allow himself to let the reality of what his team has achieved sink in, an achievement only slightly marred by their single loss to the Western Sydney Wanderers.
"It's crazy," he said. "We've gone from Round one to Round 29 with one loss and I think everyone in this room knows that shouldn't have happened and we should be sitting here as the Invincibles."
It was a game of emotional highs and lows, fittingly won by Milos Ninkovic with the final spot-kick.
There were times in the first half when tensions reached boiling point, but Arnold said he didn't have to do much of the talking at the break. It was the mateship between players, he says, that carried the team through at the end of the day.
"The only stress I had, if I did have any before the game, was I wanted it so badly for the players for what they've done this year," he said. "They're such a fantastic group of people.
"I didn't have to do much talking because they (the players) were talking about how hard we've worked, talking about the mateship, the character. The camaraderie was going to get us over the line, they kept talking (like that). That's the type of mateship and culture we have."