With Socceroo playmaker Aaron Mooy set to start, Melbourne City coach John van ’t Schip has a blunt a message for his players and fans ahead of Saturday night's Melbourne Derby: "There are no excuses".
A crowd of over 40,000 is expected to pack out Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, a venue where City has previously struggled shipping five goals in the corresponding fixture last season against cross-town rivals Victory.
“It’s time that we try to change that. It’s nothing to do with the ground, there are no excuses," he told reporters on Friday.
"Games are certain episodes and we have to make sure those episodes go into our favour.
"We know Victory well. They have certain qualities that we have to be aware of but we will play our own game.
“There’re great games, not only just for us but also the fans. I think nobody wants to lose it because it’s going to be the talk for the coming weeks.
“Aaron [Mooy] is of course going to be coming back into the team and nothing really else is going to be changing. Jason Trifiro will drop to the bench,” said the former Oranje national team assistant.
The reigning champions had City’s measure last season – winning three of their four clashes, including a 3-0 triumph in the Hyundai A-League semi-finals en route to the title.
van ’t Schip insists City have not dwelled on recent results in the build-up but knows bragging rights would be a huge psychological advantage ahead of a potential meeting in the Westfield FFA Cup final in early November.
“I think we’re on our own path but some things take time. Being the second team in town you have to go about things differently but I think everything is in place to get there.
“We analysed some things of course before but it’s a new season. We had some boys play last night in a practice game [Melling, Gameiro, Garuccio and Williams all played minutes in a friendly against Hume City). Hopefully depending on how they pull up we will have them available for next week.”
The former Dutch international went on to praise the debut performance of marquee Bruno Fornaroli in Round 1's 1-1 draw against Sydney FC, revealing he has tweaked his side’s tactics in order to integrate the Uruguayan striker more into their style of play.
“We have changed our approach a bit because of the type of player he is, we have to try get him on the ball more,” he said.
"In the end he’s our No.9 and he has some different qualities that we need to use.
"We have to make more use of him by playing him in and getting him on the ball because he’s a strong player who can hold the ball and make sure the team can come up into more attacking positions.”