It was a commanding performance from a refreshed Melbourne City and Head Coach Michael Valkanis believes the best is yet to come from his side.
The 4-0 win at AAMI Park on Saturday night “could have been more” as a double from Bruno Fornaroli headlined the performance alongside goals from Tim Cahill and Nick Fitzgerald.
With a clean sheet to boot – his side’s third of the season – and first back-to-back wins since the opening rounds, Valkanis says his side are in the process of building an ominous platform for a strong Finals Series.
“It was a very good performance in regards to the way the boys executed the strategy today and that they were clinical,” Valkanis said.
“There probably could have been more goals but we’re very happy with the performance, very happy with the three points and we move forward.
“The clean sheet was more important than scoring so many goals. The boys have worked very hard in the last two weeks in making sure they get a lot of things right, they’ve worked hard and today was a very good professional performance and we continue on. We need to find the momentum going into finals.”
The all-round performance would have pleased the Head Coach with City dominating in both halves with two different game plans. In the first, the narrow strategy through Cahill and Fornaroli payed dividends despite not pleasing Valkanis the most.
It was the aggressive wing play from substitutes Fitzgerald and Bruce Kamau that City shone brightest and the coach was pleased to see the impact of his changes.
“There was a different strategy from the first half which I think worked okay,” he said.
“We didn’t quite execute it perfectly because I think if we played out wide to Ivan who was arriving perfectly in that space. We probably would have had more chances on goal but we kept looking to play vertically in the midfield.
“The first half was good and the goal came from this strategy as well and Tim [Cahill] finished it off perfectly. At some point in the second half, the plan was to inject two speedy wingers who were fresh and it worked to a tee and they did a very good job, both of them.”
Valkanis – along with the City players and staff – paid tribute to Fernando Brandan, who’s season and the majority of next ended with an ACL injury by wearing number 27 t-shirts.
The coach said the gesture came from the group with the Argentine meaning so much to the squad on and off the park.
“It came from the playing group. He’s a special person, he’s passionate, he’s a crowd favourite but also a player favourite because he gives everything,” he said.
“He trains hard, he plays hard, he gives everything. The boys just wanted to show how important he is to the group moving forward. He was thrilled and that excited after the game, he had a smile from ear to ear. It was great to get the 4-0 result for him as well.”
City now prepare to take on Western Sydney on Friday night at Spotless Stadium in Round 24 of Hyundai A-League action. Kick-off 7.50pm.