Now having signed on through the end of the 2024/25 season, A-League Men Head Coach Patrick Kisnorbo certainly isn’t letting the squad rest on its laurels.
When a team has had as much success as City has recently, the chatter in the media is often centred around going from being the ‘hunted’ to the ‘hunter’, but Kisnorbo said it certainly wasn’t the case in his squad.
“I’ve changed that,” he said.
We’re not the ‘hunted’, we’re still the ‘hunter’. We want to improve on what we’ve done and there are other things that we want to achieve.
The nights of May 22 and June 27 will live in City fans’ memories forever – and rightly so – but for Kisnorbo and the playing squad, they are distant memories as preparations for the new season heat up.
“It’s always going to be spoken about, but we always want to improve and that’s our main focus here – trying to improve and get better,” Kisnorbo said.
“What happened last season happened last season, so we are trying to hunt to get better and hopefully we can do that this season.”
There hasn’t been a whole lot of movement within the Championship winning squad, which throughout the history of the A-Leagues, hasn’t always been the case. City has worked hard to create consistency and stability – a hallmark of successful clubs around the world.
The off-season saw the departures of fan favourite Adrian Luna as well as Craig Noone – who City fans will always remember for scoring the goal that sealed the Club’s first Premiers Plate.
While two quality players did depart the City, don’t expect there to be a big drop off on the pitch with two big signings coming in to replace them.
Current Socceroos captain Mathew Leckie is set to ignite the wings of AAMI Park this season, returning to Australia after spending the last decade in Germany’s Bundesliga.
Lesser known to Australian football fans but also with vast experience is one of Europe’s top leagues, is Italian attacker Manuel Pucciarelli. Capable of playing virtually any position in the attacking third, his versatility will provide a point of difference to Kisnorbo’s squad this season.
“He brings a vast amount of experience from his time in the Serie A and will add some variety to our squad,” Kisnorbo said.
“He picks up fantastic positions on the pitch and there’s a lot of different things he can do and provide for us, so we’re very happy to have him here.”
The new season is fast approaching, City taking on South Melbourne in the FFA Cup Round of 32 on Friday 12 November, before opening the Isuzu UTE A-League season a week later.
While preparations may be a little different to usual so far with COVID restrictions severely limiting the amount of pre-season friendlies the Club can play, Kisnorbo said the group had adapted well and were in a good space.
“Obviously there’s still a lot more work to be done but the players have been working hard every day and are in a good place physically,” he said.
“Mentally they’re good. They’re very fortunate to be able to work and get out of the house to do something they love, unlike many others during the pandemic.”
City’s pre-season has also differed in another way due to the Club’s move out to the South East. While the Casey Fields facility isn’t completely finished, Kisnorbo said the Men’s squad was very fortunate to have things in place for them this season.
“They are building more and more still, it’s great now but once it’s fully finished it will be absolutely fantastic,” Kisnorbo said.
“We want to create the best training environment for everyone involved at the Club.
“The people here are great, and we’ve certainly been welcomed with open arms. They come and watch us and speak to us every day, and we are very fortunate to be a part of the South East community.”
Head to shop.melbournecityfc.com.au to become a City Member and come along for the ride with Kisnorbo’s squad this season as they look to go back-to-back!