Melbourne City coach Michael Valkanis sees Saturday’s clash with Brisbane Roar as an opportunity for his undermanned squad to make a statement against a fellow top four rival.
City were good for 84 minutes before two minutes of madness put Valkanis’ men behind in the 23rd edition of the Melbourne Derby and the Head Coach stressed there we lessons learnt and issues addressed one-on-one with the side as they look to bounce back on Saturday.
But with 7 players out of the side - six only suspended for a week – the coach feels the Roar clash will be more of an opportunity than a problem.
“It’s an opportunity for some players to come in and play and that’s what it’s about,” Valkanis said.
“It’s not about eleven players and three that come on off the bench, it’s a squad. We’re happy that some boys will get the chance to come in and do well and there will be some younger boys who come through from the youth as well who had a fantastic youth league season. We believe in our youth and what work we are doing with them as well.
“When you play a derby, you play a derby and the boys went in and gave everything. In the end, it’s a situation they have to deal with it, you can either look at it as a problem, and it is a problem, or you can look at it as an opportunity and it is an opportunity.”*/
One of those players who will have an opportunity to play on Saturday is Thomas Sorensen and Valkanis could not stress enough the professionalism shown by the 40-year-old, who has served as an important mentor to Dean Bouzanis.
“It’s a terrific opportunity as well for Thomas Sorensen to come back in, he’s been absolutely amazing during this period,” he said.
“He’s never once wavered from training 100% and giving everything he had and he’s got a lot of great skills as a leader. He’ll always put the football club before him. That’s what we’re all about here, we always put the team before the individual and Tommy, I’m sure, will perform and do very well.
“He’s got a lot of experience, regardless of his age. You can see in his eyes how he’s looking forward to this game, it’s like his first game and we’re all happy for him to get a go and play.
“He’s been the perfect example of a leader and coaching Dean so we look at it as a really good challenge, our club likes challenges and we’ll give it everything.
City will face a Brisbane side who themselves have been through a gruelling run of matches, most notably a 10-hour round trip to China mid-week but Valkanis knows the Roar will be out to continue their momentum, whether they are suffering from travel or not.
“I think Brisbane is a really good team. They have plenty of experience and play good football and I think they’ll be up for the game,” he said.
“It’s great for them to win in China, they will have a lot of confidence for what they are dong and how they are playing but for us, we know they are a very good team and we’re not going to consider when they come back or who they play, they are a good team.”
“We’ve got people that will step up and score goals, our plan is a little bit different this week. I’m sure that Colazo, Caceres, Kamau and Arzani will be keen to play and get the ball and score because we play football to take opportunities and score goals.”
City take on Brisbane at AAMI Park as the Club celebrates Chinese New Year. Click below to secure your tickets for the match or sign up to our Three Match Membership today!