|By VINCE RUGARI
Sydney FC caretaker coach Steve Corica has pledged to fill the gaping holes in his side's defence and find a way to maximise Alessandro Del Piero's incredible attacking influence, as the club makes a full-time replacement for the departed Ian Crook a priority.
Friday's 4-2 loss to Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium was a case of one step forward, two steps back for a club still reeling from the resignation of Crook.
The Sky Blues released a statement on Saturday morning saying their search for a coach was "top of the agenda" after a board meeting.
"The board met in Brisbane today as was always planned and we took part in some robust and productive discussions about the head coach role," Sydney FC chief executive officer Tony Pignata said.
"We have been pleasantly surprised by number of candidates, both local and overseas-based, and we will start making further enquiries in relation to some of the applicants.
"No timeline has been set for the recruitment of the head coach but we are looking to appoint the best person to take the football club forward under the football philosophy we have in place."
But while star man Del Piero scored two phenomenal goals that dragged the Sky Blues back into the contest agains the Roar on Friday, it was the other end of the park that has Corica, who flagged potential defensive changes for next week, most concerned.
"We scored two goals again, which is a positive – we're just leaking too many goals," he said.
"You can't afford to concede that many goals and expect to win games.
"We'll work on it at training next week. That's up to me now, to do, and maybe [I can] make a few changes."
Corica said former Australia international Jason Culina played 90 minutes for Sydney FC's youth team and, along with young gun Terry Antonis, is a strong possibility to feature next Friday against Adelaide.
"Whether he can start, I'm not sure, but he'll definitely be available for the bench," Corica said of Culina.
Defender Adam Griffiths will also continue his comeback from a hamstring injury in the National Youth League.
Del Piero did precisely the same thing against Brisbane - and although he was far from mobile, his influence could not be understated.
The Italian superstar was isolated for much of the first half but the Roar let their guard down in the second and he stamped his mark on the game.
"Teams are aware of him. We work on it at training - we try to get the ball to him as quickly as possible," Corica said.
"... But we don't want to be a one-man team, as well. If he's marked tight there's obviously spaces elsewhere so we have to use that to our advantage."
Corica said he still had no idea how long he will be in charge for after Crook's sudden resignation last Sunday, but pledged to give everything he has while he is in the hot seat.
"The first couple of days was very difficult. At training the boys were a little bit shocked that Crooky left," Corica said.
"It was the same for me, I got on really well with Crooky and it was a shock to the system. But it's best for him and his family."
Meanwhile, Brisbane Roar coach Rado Vidosic was delighted as his side found their form again, but as disappointed they lost it just as quickly.
While happy to have shaken a pesky three-match losing run, Vidosic showcased another trait he has in common with revered predecessor Ange Postecoglou - he is a hard man to please.
The reigning A-League champions looked to have returned to their dominant best as they toyed with the hapless Sky Blues at times, but a handful of defensive gaffes caught the watchful eye of their coach.
"The first half was probably brilliant, the way we pressed and moved the ball. It was probably the best half so far in our A-League season," Vidosic said.
"But very disappointed with the second half. That was not good enough. We didn't defend well, we did not move the ball quickly enough."So there's a lot of positives. But unfortunately there are quite a few negatives as well."