Melbourne City boss John van’t Schip was left to reflect on what could have been after his side lost 3-0 to Melbourne Victory on Friday night.
City‘s injury curse, a problem which blighted much of their campaign, struck again at Etihad Stadium, where David Williams, Aaron Mooy and Harry Novillo were all forced from the pitch during a 20-minute spell either side of half-time.
Van ‘t Schip admitted he was disheartened by the situation, saying the injuries in the semi-final and the result that followed epitomised their season.
“Today summed up what happened during the year, with the three injuries that we had to replace,” he told the press after the game.
“I think that’s the story of the season, the amount of changes we had to the team. If you look at Sydney, Victory and Adelaide they can put on the same eight or nine players from the start of the season.
“During the season you have to deal with injuries, but that was a big problem for us. And not soft tissue injuries either, injuries that put players out for weeks or months.
“We had to get other players in from abroad and from other clubs. We managed to get through the season but the gelling of the team that we worked on in pre-season got disrupted.”
Despite their injury struggles during the game, City created several clear-cut opportunities, with a host of different players guilty of bad misses.
An honest Van’t Schip admitted his side created more than enough openings to make an impact but simply lacked the composure needed in front of goal.
“We had enough chances to win the game but it’s about getting the goal,” he said.
“If you make it 2-1, then it’s an open game again and anything is possible. But the chances that we got, we didn’t (finish).
“That was the difference today. Victory were clinical in finishing the chances they got.”
Although Friday’s result will certainly leave a sour taste for City supporters, their overall season was something of a successful one.
Making the semi-finals after finishing bottom of the table last campaign was a dramatic improvement and Van’t Schip was full of praise for his players’ efforts.
“If you look where we came from last year, we finished with the wooden spoon. This year we made this step into the semi-finals so there is clear improvement there,” he said.
“But (at the same time) we want to make more steps than this year, and we will bounce back next year.”