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Arnie ready to raise bar again after title

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/05/2017 Emma Kemp

Graham Arnold has done it all now.

With two A-League championships under his belt, the veteran coach joins Ange Postecoglou and Ernie Merrick as the only multiple title-winners.

But he stands alone as the only one to have delivered the biggest honour to different clubs.

And in the greatest season of the competition's 12-year history.

But even as the 53-year-old lifted the famed toilet seat with his Sky Blues team that's broken all manner of records this season, the notorious high achiever still wanted more.

"The thing is, I'm never happy," Arnold said.

"I'm happy that we've done everything but next year I have to raise the standards even more.

"I'm happy for the boys, that's the most important thing.

"Wherever I work and every day, I try to create high standards.

"The question is, how high can the standards go? I think we can go higher, get better.

"We've got some smart recruiting to do over the next three months."

Arnold's search for history has been one guided by personal introspection.

He lost himself amid the disappointment of the 2015-16 campaign, unfamiliar territory he admits forced him to face some hard truths about his performance from the dugout.

The personal renovation has, in part, driven Sydney's resurrection from vanquished seventh place-getters to all-conquering champions within 12 months and turned Arnold in to the A-League's coach of the year.

The other factor, of course, has been shrewd recruitment and a winning culture.

"I haven't sat and soaked it all in," Arnold said.

"When you talk about the pressure side of it, it's crazy.

"We've gone from round one to round 29 with one loss, and I think everyone in this room knows that loss shouldn't have happened and we should be sitting here as 'The Invincibles'."

Having been through the pain of losing a title on penalties, Arnold almost apologised for the manner of the win, a 4-2 penalty triumph after extra-time finished with the scores still locked at 1-1.

Regardless, he was certain no one deserved it more than his team, after losing just once in 29 games and lifting the Premiers Plate by a record 17-point margin.

"The only stress that I had," Arnold said.

"If I did have any, before the game was just that I wanted it so badly for the players, for what they've done this year."

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