Melbourne City coach John van ‘t Schip has wasted little time starting the mind games ahead of an epic semi-final derby with Melbourne Victory on Friday night.
City set up a huge clash with their crosstown rivals thanks to a well-deserved 2-0 Elimination Final win over Wellington Phoenix on Sunday.
It was the clubs first-ever finals win but focus has swiftly turned to trying to topple Kevin Muscat’s Premiers’ Plate winners and title favourites.
“The pressure is on them. It’s not because I want to put the pressure on them, that’s the truth,” van ‘t Schip declared.
“They are the champions, they have had a great season and have had good growth in their performance.
“But this is a single game, it’s a final and we’ve shown in the past we can get into those games in a very good way. We can approach them in a very good way.
“Even though it’s a short turnover I think in this case it’s not a disadvantage because we’re in the rhythm of playing and I think that can only be an advantage.
“The energy is good, we’re going to be up for it on Friday and it’s going to be a great game.”
City produced two clinical counter attacks to beat Phoenix, with Josh Kennedy and an own goal by ‘keeper Glen Moss the defining moments in a tense encounter at Westpac Stadium.
Having failed to win any of their last four games heading into the finals, van ‘t Schip said the player’s attitude and a tweak in formation helped pull off the shock win.
“We had a very good talk and we trained very precise and secure towards this game,” he said.
“We changed the formation a bit because looking at the last few games, some parts were good but we also looked vulnerable at times.
“We tried to change a few things and that paid out with the result. Credit to the coaching staff and the people around me that everyday are their helping and coming up with suggestions.
“All together we came with a bit of a different idea and the boys worked it out fantastic.”
City will arrive back in Melbourne on Monday and will have just four days to prepare for the biggest clash in the club’s history.
Defender Kew Jaliens will be available again after serving his one game ban this weekend.