Since the last time Melbourne City FC faced Western Sydney Wanderers – at AAMI Park in early February – Head Coach John van’t Schip believes Tony Popovic’s side has strengthened.
There were five new faces in the Wanderers side that lost 2-1 against City at AAMI Park and while there will be more new faces in the Wanderers’ starting eleven on Wednesday, van’t Schip believes the Parramatta-based club will be more settled on Wednesday night, despite its winless run.
“They are going to be different because of course when we played them, in that team they had five players actually playing for the first time together,” van’t Schip said.
“Tonight whatever team they are going to put on the pitch, it will be a team that is used [to playing with each other]. The new Japanese players [Yusuke Tanaka and Yohiro Takahagi] have integrated well.
“Takahagi, he is showing more and more that he is a player who is giving structure and pace and quality to the team, while Tanaka is doing well.
“They also have Spiranovic back after the Asian Cup and with [Kerem] Bulut up front adding extra next to [Tomi] Juric.
“I know they have a tough program [fixture schedule with the Asian Champions League], but it’s a team that looks a lot stronger than when we played them in February.”
With the need for three points in Wednesday night’s encounter, van’t Schip has addressed his playing staff after Sunday’s 1-0 loss against Central Coast Mariners.
“We didn’t profit from the chances and from the play we had in a few circumstances in the first half when Central Coast, at that moment, looked vulnerable and we didn’t make a goal,” van’t Schip said.
“I think the energy in the first half was good, but in the second half we just dropped too much in the level.
“It’s something that we have talked about and that we have addressed with the players; we have to have more consistency.”
“We had a few good opportunities with David Williams and Patrick Kisnorbo; we had a lot of set pieces and we looked actually OK, especially in transition… so that was very positive.”
With two matches in the space four days, van’t Schip said it presented both a challenge and opportunity.
“It is [challenging], but it is also good, because it gives other players the chance to stand up and show that they’re part of a big squad so hopefully we can get a good result tonight and then look forward to Saturday.
“Tonight is obviously a massive game and the boys that will go out on to the pitch will be ready to bounce back after the game on Sunday.”