Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold watches on from the bench.
Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold watches on from the bench. DAN HIMBRECHTS

Sky Blues looking forward to step up in quality

SYDNEY FC coach Graham Arnold says his players need to up their game if they are to gain revenge on Melbourne City for last year's FFA Cup final loss.

The Sky Blues missed out on the treble last season after Tim Cahill's header secured a 1-0 win for City in the final.

The two sides go head-to-head on Wednesday night in the quarter-finals of this year's competition and Arnold said although his team had played well in wins over Darwin Rovers (8-0) and Bankstown Berries (3-0), Melbourne would be a tougher proposition.

"I was really excited when we got Melbourne City in the draw because we've been playing NPL clubs, with no disrespect, and we need to be tested in the pre-season," he said.

"We've been performing probably around 50% and now we need to step up and we will on Wednesday night."

Melbourne City played 120 minutes against Adelaide United in a behind-closed-doors friendly last week.

Stefan Mauk scored City's goal in a 2-1 loss in wet conditions.

Midfielder Luke Brattan said it was time City raised its game too.

"Last year we got called soft a lot," he said.

"Our mentality has changed. We're a lot fitter and a lot stronger mentally.

"We're working on being aggressive in defence and keeping the ball when we can.

"Not a lot is changing, but it's about mentality."