Three points, a clean sheet and the first win of the New Year welcomed City’s interim Head Coach Michael Valkanis to the role after an emotional week for the Club.
Ivan Franjic’s 20th minute goal was enough to separate the sides on Friday night as City recorded its first win in five matches despite only losing to Victory in the Melbourne Derby during that period.
Valkanis – who became interim manager after the departure of long-time Head Coach John van’t Schip – was pleased to see how his side dealt with the emotions of the week, putting the week’s events aside to get back onto the winner’s list.
“I thought the boys were good. It has been a tough week,” Valkanis said.
“Someone who has been here for a very long time [John van’t Schip] and part of this Club shocked us with the news that he was resigning. This win was a little bit for John as well.
“The result was very important but with us it’s always about the style as well. Today the boys dominated the majority of the game. I thought the first half was very good and we created enough chances to win the game a little bit more comfortably.
“I think we had good clear cut chances, it shouldn’t have got to that [the tight score line]. There was one or two times where they had opportunities but I don’t think clear cut. You’re always going to have opportunities against you. The only thing that could worry you was in the last five games, we have conceded those sort of goals.
“But today we had a clean sheet and the boys worked hard. It was difficult conditions, it was very, very hot and we played with a very good intensity in the first half.
City returned to a back four after the return of experienced defender Michael Jakobsen and Valkanis was adamant that the side’s formation on Friday was only indicative of the side they were playing, saying his side’s adaptability will give them the upper hand towards the end of the season.
“Whether it’s 4-3-3 or 3-4-3 – I said last time they’re telephone numbers for us,” he said.
“I think the 4-3-3 we’ve done a lot of work in pre-season on. The foundation is set for that, and we’re comfortable with that. Part of evolving the team and making it capable to play 3-4-3 is what we were doing with John [van’t Schip].
“We discussed with John this week that we were going to go to a back four anyway. For us, we’re comfortable playing this way or that way. I think the team has improved and learned how to play in another way. That might come in handy in Finals time – I don’t think there’s many teams that are able to change like that.
“That was all part of the planning in pre-season. They [the team] can go to a four or play with a three, I think they can.”
Valkanis will now prepare his side to take on Champions and the interim boss’ previous club Adelaide United on Thursday night as City look to string back-to-back wins before coming home to take on the Central Coast Mariners.
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