For many football teams, a rare fortnight between games near the end of a long season is the perfect chance to reduce training loads and recharge the batteries.
Source:
AAP
13 Mar 2017 - 12:49 PM  UPDATED 13 Mar 2017 - 12:49 PM

Not so for 11-point A-League leaders Sydney FC, whose relentless coach believes little in such luxuries.

With four rounds remaining, Graham Arnold will use a 16-day break to flog his squad in a bid to prevent even a whiff of complacency sneaking into their seemingly inexorable title push.

Melbourne Victory, by virtue of Saturday's 4-1 win over Perth, have made the Sky Blues wait another two weeks to lift the Premiers' Plate.

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But that first inevitable piece of silverware in seven seasons has never been the target for Arnold, who is more intent on cementing best-ever A-League status by ratcheting up a record 58 points in the 10-team format.

Already with 56 points, Sydney can kill two birds with one stone away to the Glory on March 26, meaning that objective may too take a back seat to the holy grail of the championship.

Whatever the target, Arnold made it clear the pain won't stop even for his first XI, most of whom have started essentially all their 23 games.

"They need to work harder," Arnold said.

"The only way to do that is to drive them and make sure there's no let-up.

"We need the fortnight to really step up the training because we've had three Friday night games in the last three weeks where you can't get the full rhythm of training in.

"So therefore we'll hurt the boys, we'll definitely make sure we work them extremely hard."

The players were given two-and-a-half days off after Friday night's home 1-0 win over Central Coast, an uncharacteristically pallid performance helped none by the poor state of Allianz Stadium's pitch, an ongoing issue with the potential to harm title hopes.

On the orders of strength and conditioning coach Andrew Clark, each completed an individual session at home before returning to team training on Tuesday for the expected onslaught.

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"Two and half to three days off is enough - once you get to four or five the body starts relaxing too much and the brain starts switching off," Arnold said.

"They'll come back in on Tuesday, we'll train twice Tuesday, twice Wednesday and play an in-house game on Friday."