Sydney want to be 'greatest team in A-League history' - O'Neill

The young midfielder has been a standout for the Sky Blues in 2016-17 and has credited his coach for his impressive form

Sydney FC's Brandon O'Neill has credited a pre-season piece of advice from Graham Arnold as the catalyst for becoming a key man for the Sky Blues.

The 22-year-old has flourished in Sydney's surge towards the A-League premiership, becoming a mainstay of the league leaders' midfield following his 2015 switch from Perth Glory.

O'Neill is just one match away from notching 20 starts across the campaign after helping the Sky Blues to a 1-0 win over Central Coast Mariners on Friday night.

"At the start of the season [Arnold] sat me down and he pretty much told me what I could do to be consistent," O'Neill told Fox Sports after the victory over the Mariners.

"Being a midfielder, you don't have to be man-of-the-match every week like 'Ninko' [Milos Ninkovic] can be.

"I want to do my job for the team and make sure we win football matches.

"I couldn't be happier playing for Sydney FC at the moment."

Arnold targets A-League record points haul with Sydney

While Sydney weren't at their fluent best on Friday night, O'Neill believes the grinding result is still another important step towards realising Arnold's vision.

"He's reminding us to be the greatest football team in A-League history – that's everyday, at lunch, in warm-ups," the midfielder said.

"Three points like that in hard conditions, against a good Central Coast Mariners team, goes a long way to doing that."

Meanwhile, Central Coast captain Nick Montgomery was delighted with his team's performance at Allianz Stadium despite their winless run stretching to four games.

Sydney FC 1 Central Coast Mariners 0

The loss could leave the Mariners eight points outside the finals positions with four matches remaining at the end of the A-League's current split round.

"To come here and give them a game like that, I'm proud of the young players we've got," Montgomery told Fox Sports.

"You can see we have come a long way in 12 months. Right at the end we were still going and I think that shows the character of this team.

"All credit to Sydney, they have been brilliant, but I'm really, really proud of the young boys tonight."

Mariners coach Paul Okon started four players 22 or younger against Sydney, while two of his substitutes were also in that age bracket.