Lifting a line from Frank Sinatra, Sydney FC coach Steve Corica has backed himself to beat the second-year blues as his attention slowly shifts to defending their A-League championship without his right-hand man.
Corica has credited Ufuk Talay with playing a key role in Sydney's grand final triumph but the former teammates will become enemies next season when his assistant coach takes on the top job at Wellington Phoenix.
Talay, 43, will be officially unveiled on Friday in Wellington as Mark Rudan's successor. It is an opportunity Corica thought would not come so soon for the man he hand-picked to work alongside him in his own first season as a head coach.
"I expected a couple of years probably, maybe a few more," Corica told the Herald. "He obviously thought it was a good opportunity, he didn't know if it was going to come around again – that was one of the reasons why he thought he'd take it.
"I do wish him all the best, because he's had a very good year here and been a big part of this season as well. We worked really well together and it was a good combination. Rudes has started something (at the Phoenix) and I'm sure Uffy will carry on and do a fantastic job."
Corica has enjoyed a dream campaign with the Sky Blues – it officially came to an end with Tuesday night's 4-0 defeat to Kawasaki Frontale in the AFC Champions League – but a busy off-season looms.
Replacing Talay is a priority, and while Corica has pondered his options briefly he is yet to make a final call. Youth coach Robbie Stanton looms as a strong possibility to be elevated to a permanent first-team role.
All I can say is, I did it my way and the boys have responded.
Sydney FC coach Steve Corica
Corica's squad is likely to look very different next season, too. On-loan players Siem de Jong, Reza Ghoochannejhad and Anthony Caceres will return to their parent clubs. Only Caceres is expected to return, assuming an agreement can be reached for a permanent transfer from Manchester City.
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