Sydney FC coach Frank Farina has shot down reports Italian skipper Alessandro Del Piero is gunning for is job, calling the claims “garbage”.
The pressure on Farina was heightened last week after the embattled coach guided the side to their seventh loss in 10 games and a club-record third straight home defeat.
Disgruntled fans at Allianz Stadium on Saturday staged a revolt against the mentor unfurling banners during the 3-0 loss to Adelaide calling for his head and held vocal protests, while one supporter threw a beer over Farina.
Farina, who took over mid-season last year from Ian Crook, is contracted until the end of the season but may not have his contact renewed if Sydney doesn’t secure a top-four finish.
Reports have emerged this week that Del Piero has put his hand up to take over as coach next season should Farina’s tenure end, allegedly requesting a multi-million dollar deal from the club despite not having the required coaching qualifications.
But Farina quashed those claims saying he had spoken to the 39-year-old World Cup-winner who confirmed they were untrue.
“The rumours, I don’t know who starts them, Alessandro doesn’t know who started them either. It’s ridiculous,” Farina told Sky Sports Radio on Friday.
Del Piero had offered to coach the team after Crook resigned and Farina feels this may have sparked the current speculation.
“He said to me he never said anything like that and I think it dates back to when Ian Crook resigned,” Farina said.
“I can guarantee everyone that he’s not gunning for my job, we’ve got a great relationship.
“When you go through a week like this there’s a lot of bombs that are thrown and if you read those articles that came out about Alessandro he wasn’t quoted in them at all.
“It was garbage.”
But with the Sky Blues sitting in seventh place with nine games to play Farina did admit that he is feeling the pressure and knows the side must rebound with a win against Perth on Saturday.
“In any sport it’s results, if you win everyone’s happy,” he said.
“So I’ll feel a lot more comfortable in my job if we win this week.”
Del Piero and the rest of the leadership group including Richard Garcia, Terry McFlynn, Nicky Carle and Seb Ryall, lead a player-only meeting on Thursday.
“It was all about the group taking ownership as well of the situation and what they’ve got to do collectively, individually to get us through this,” Farina said.
“That’s a huge positive. So what I heard came out of that was very good.”