A hero of Brisbane Roar's first Hyundai A-League championship success, Erik Paartalu has spelled out to his Melbourne City team-mates exactly what it will take to transform the club into a genuine force.
Paartalu famously equalised for the Roar against Central Coast in the 120th minute of the 2011 grand final at Suncorp Stadium, before scoring in the subsequent shootout to secure the Queensland club's first title.
Now plying his trade in the white and sky blue of City, he was on target with a header against the Mariners again on Sunday, putting John van 't Schip's men 2-0 up at AAMI Park.
City, Mariners share spoils
It was the Gosford team's turn to stage a late comeback this time though, John Hutchinson scoring from range in the 94th minute to snatch a 2-2 draw.
Quizzed at a recovery session on Monday about when City will learn how to close games out, Paartalu insisted there is plenty of hard work ahead before that objective becomes a reality.
"You can't switch it on like a light switch," he said.
"It's something that's created out on the training pitch, not accepting second best.
"And certainly not accepting conceding goals in the 94th minute. To have that winning mentality, we need to close games out, we need to win ugly and we need to win at home for the fans too.
"That creates a bit of confidence and that creates your mentality. The boys train hard every day, we're here working hard.
"We've got the right things in the right places. It's just about getting results now and that's the next step for this club."
Next up for City is a home game against Sydney FC on Saturday.
The two sides shared the points in a 1-1 draw in the opening round of the season but since then the Sky Blues have demonstrated signs of becoming a trademark Graham Arnold side, having not conceded a goal in their last four matches.
"They're a good side, they've started well," Paartalu said.
"It's pretty tight this year in the A-League. Everyone's taken points off each other. Conceding that goal (against the Mariners) might have been a good thing for us because we're going to be even hungrier to try and get the three points this weekend."
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