|By JOHN GRECO
Returning Sydney FC star Alessandro Del Piero has told his Sky Blues team-mates to forget about last Saturday's shellacking against Central Coast, with any lingering mental scars likely to derail their season.
In some major good news for the two-time A-League champions, Del Piero is set to return to the side to face Melbourne Victory on Saturday night after missing the 7-2 thrashing with hamstring tightness.
The 37-year-old completed training with the Sky Blues on Thursday and said he has a "good feeling" about his fitness for the vital clash at Allianz Stadium.
It has been a week of thorough analysis and soul-searching for Sydney, but Del Piero said it was time to put the result behind them and focus only on Victory.
"We talked a lot about last Saturday and it was a really bad loss for us," Del Piero told reporters on Thursday.
"But if we think about it too much maybe we go on the field with some fear... that's not positive.
"We understand it was not a good day for us but we have another one on Saturday at home and it's a chance to change our future.
"With a big game like Saturday it could be a perfect situation for us."
When asked what areas the team needed to improve if they were a chance to turn things around, the former Italian international joked: "Maybe everything if we saw the last match.
"No, we did some good things ... we scored two goals against the Central Coast, which is not easy,
"But in the end the game last Saturday for us was a very, very bad.
"That's why I try to joke because if we think about it too much maybe there will be too much pressure on us."
Sydney coach Ian Crook has had the difficult job of not only trying to fix the team's on-field deficiencies this week but also lift the battered confidence of his squad.
"You don't forget getting beat 7-2 overnight," he said.
"It doesn't matter what I say here now, tonight, tomorrow, next week it will still be on people's minds.
"But you need to lessen that each time and the best way to dot that is get results."
Sydney could at least be bolstered with the return of a host of key players for the visit of the Victory.
While Del Piero appears a certain starter, defenders Pascal Bosschaart, Fabio and Adam Griffiths are all in line to be included in the squad.
But Socceroos midfielder Jason Culina is still at least another week away, despite his impressive performance and recovery in the club's practice match this week.
"When Jase comes back on the park it's about us keeping him there for good," Crook said.
"If we were to push him now he's liable to break."