Sydney FC captain Alessandro Del Piero says he is '100 percent' ready to return to the Sky Blues starting side and has urged the players to lift their game.
Alessandro Del Piero says he is '100 percent' ready to return to Sydney FC's starting side and has urged the players to lift their game to ease the pressure on the Sky Blues and embattled coach Frank Farina.
After three straight losses the heat has been turned up on Farina, with the Sky Blues languishing in eighth spot and struggling to score goals.
They will get some respite for Saturday night's blockbuster with the Melbourne Victory with Del Piero set to start after finally shrugging off his calf injury.
The Italian veteran understands the speculation and scrutiny surrounding the club and Farina due to their struggles but insists it's the players' job to dig them out of the mire.
"Everyone has responsibility for their job and we need to help each other, help Frank and help Sydney FC get out of this position," Del Piero told reporters on Thursday.
"Everyone understands it's not a good moment for us but it's not only one man's fault, it's everyone's fault.
"We work together, we win together and we lose together. I know Frank is under pressure now but he's a wonderful guy with a lot of experience.
"His feeling on the field is perfect, very focused. I'm confident. I'm OK with the team, with Frank, everybody.
"I have a good feeling about Saturday and about the rest of the season."
Farina denied he's feeling the pressure despite writing a blog this week, taking aim at the fans who have called for his sacking on Twitter.
Asked if he has been given assurances from the Sydney board his job is safe, Farina said: "I don't think there's any assurances in anything you do in life.
"The bottom line is we have to get results, if we get results all the speculation and talk goes away.
"That's what it's about for us at the moment, working hard, knuckle down and hopefully get results." The return of Del Piero will certainly help with that.
Despite Del Piero's declaration he was ready to start, Farina said the 39-year-old still had to complete the final two sessions of the week to play.
Given the team's struggles in front of goal in his absence, Del Piero admits he shoulders the responsibility to score but it's a pressure he's accustomed too.
"I come from Italy where there's pressure every day, every second of your life," he said.
"When you score in 29 games out of 30, people want ask why you haven't scored in 30.
"I'm not scared by that. It puts responsibility on me about my job and about what I have to do. I feel the pressure, but it's my job and I know what's expected of me."
Asked about the challenge of the Victory, who are unbeaten this season, Del Piero said: "We are not in a perfect moment but this is the situation for us and we have to accept this challenge.
"Victory have a very good team. I understand what it means, Sydney against Melbourne, not just in football but every sport.
"It's a big rivalry, it's part of the game and we are excited about that."