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George Clarke

Sydney seek to silence City's Socceroos attack in ALM

Sydney FC coach Ufuk Talay says Melbourne City cannot be written off as a spent force. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

Ufuk Talay is adamant reports of Melbourne City's demise are greatly exaggerated, as Sydney FC seek to strengthen their grip on a spot in the A-League Men top six and put a dent in City's finals tilt in the process.

City are winless in their past three outings and Jamie Maclaren has not found the back of the net in seven games ahead of Saturday's trip to face the Sky Blues. 

Premiers in the past three seasons, City enter round 18 languishing in seventh place on the table knowing a loss to Sydney would severely hamper their hopes of qualifying for the finals. 

But Talay says Sydney can't read into City's recent form, as his side bid to extend their unbeaten run to five games.

The Sky Blues boss pointed to City's front line of Maclaren, Mathew Leckie, Marco Tilio and Andrew Nabbout as proof that Aurelio Vidmar's men cannot be taken lightly. 

Jamie Maclaren and Marco Tilio
Jamie Maclaren and Marco Tilio are part of a formidable Melbourne City attack. (Morgan Hancock/AAP PHOTOS)

"They are still a very good side and they've still got the Socceroos front line in their squad and people tend to forget that," Talay said.

"They've got some experienced and quality players.

"For us we'll analyse them and find where we need to exploit them.

"The focus is on what we want to do when we have the ball and nullify their opportunities. 

"We are creating a new identity in the way that we play and we want to get to a point where, even on a bad day, the game that we played is quite recognisable to everybody out there." 

City are unbeaten in their past four games against Sydney and enjoyed a 2-0 win over the Sky Blues when they last met in round three.

That game proved to be the nail in the coffin for Talay's predecessor Steve Corica, but captain Luke Brattan is keen to stress how much the Sky Blues have evolved since then.

Sydney have won eight of the 14 games since Talay took charge, and a win could lift them into the top four for the first time this year. 

"We were talking about it the other day within the group that we are a much better side now than what we were then," Brattan said.

"It's a different style of football, but I think we are a better side than we were four weeks ago.

"I don't think the table reflects what sort of team they are, and we've created a great rivalry over the years." 

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