Talay's tough training steels Sydney for ALM title bid

Luke Brattan knew Ufuk Talay meant business when, just a few days after taking charge of Sydney FC, he subjected his players to a bleep test.

Now, five months on from his appointment, Sydney are starting to reap the benefits of 'Uffy-ball' after locking in a spot in the A-League Men finals by beating Western Sydney Wanderers in the 98th minute.

Since he arrived to replace Steve Corica in November, Talay has transformed Sydney to the effect that the Sky Blues' title credentials can no longer be dismissed.

A side which usually crumbled under pressure has built a gameplan around a rock-solid and relentless pressing system shaped by Talay and assistant David Zrillic.

"It was funny, 'Uffy' came in midweek and we did the yo-yo test two days before a game," Brattan told AAP. 

"It was pretty much from there, a change in mentality.

"All the boys are in great shape and we're a team that press until the 98th minute.

"Everyone has bought into it and we're getting our rewards now.

"It wasn't good enough at the start but we're getting it right more often than not. 

"Our motto is, 'we don't stop'. That's our DNA now, our image, we are a pressing team."

The change is all the more remarkable considering Sydney boast one of the youngest squads in the A-League Men. 

At age 34 Brattan does not fall into that category, but he estimates his short spell under Talay has been one of the most beneficial of his career. 

"I'm enjoying it. The attention to detail 'Uffy' and 'Zrilla' have has been fantastic," Brattan said. 

"I've learned so much this year - it's the most I've run and the most tackles I've made for a while - it's a positive environment and we want to keep that going."

Sydney are assured of a spot in the top six but can strengthen their grip on a home elimination final if they beat Macarthur and Perth over the next fortnight.

And beyond then, Brattan believes they have shown enough under Talay to enter the knockout stages of the competition as a bona fide title contender. 

"With our press and we're good with the ball, too, we've got a lot of quality and individual brilliance," Brattan added. 

"If we put the two together we can beat anyone, we're definitely going in the right direction." 

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