He returns to the city where he made his name as a footballer in Australia, but City Head Coach Michael Valkanis says his sole focus will be on picking up the three points from South Australia on Thursday night.
Despite growing up in Melbourne, Valkanis returned to Adelaide after his time playing professionally in Greece and made a name for himself at United in the early years of the A-League.
Spending 13 years in Adelaide as a player and coach, City’s new boss returns to the town where he made his name, telling the media on Wednesday that even he was surprised how things have changed for him in the past 12 months.
“A year ago I would not in my life have thought I would have been going back and coaching against Adelaide and being the Head Coach,” Valkanis said.
“I spent a big portion of my playing career and coaching in Adelaide. A lot of people think I’m actually an Adelaide boy because I’ve been there for so long. I loved every moment in being in Adelaide as a player and as a coach.
“I was accepted that much there that I actually became one of their boys. I have a lot of respect for the supporters there and the club. That’s football though, now Melboune City [is a part of my life]. I love being here, we have a good team and we have an opportunity of going there to get the three points.
City face the Reds on Thursday night at Coopers Stadium and the interim coach was fully aware of the importance of back-to-back wins for his side.
Despite languishing on the base of the A-League ladder, Adelaide have showed positive signs with their style of football and Valkanis believes when United are up and running, they have the potential to trouble any side in the league, showing moments over the past couple of weeks against the top sides.
“I worked for some time there and worked with Josep Gomabu and Guillermo Amor and I know the style and what they are going to do,” he said.
“They are in a difficult spot but they are very dangerous. We can’t think that it’s going to be an easy game because the table says they are on the bottom. They’re a team that has been very unlucky and playing very good football and they’re going to play a Grand Final tomorrow.
“We know this because they need results, they need to win. We’re not going there with the mentality that it is going to be an easy game, they play good football and they’ve missed good opportunities in the last few games so we have to be really switched on.
“Having played and coached there, I know during tough periods, players do lift and it becomes a really cauldron-like mentality and I’m sure behind the scenes they’ll be talking about tomorrow as do or die.
City take on the Reds on Thursday night in Round 15 of the A-League. See the match live on Fox Sports 505. Melbourne City return home next week against Central Coast Mariners on Thursday 19 January at AAMI Park, kick-off 7.50pm. See three of our remaining five home matches with our 3 Match Membership. Sign up below!