Skipper Michael Jakobsen says Melbourne City’s ‘body-on-the-line’ defensive mantra will give his side an excellent chance of victory in Friday night’s to-of-the-table clash against champions Sydney FC.
City has made a perfect start to the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Season, winning all four matches to sit atop of the ladder.
The most impressive feature for Warren Joyce’s side has been their defensive solidity, conceding just one goal in 360 minutes of action.
But their defensive strength and title credentials will get a serious test at AAMI Park on Friday night, with the unbeaten Sky Blues coming to town.
"The focus has been more on the defensive part and keeping a clean sheet...if you have to block a shot with your face then that's what you've got to do," Jakobsen said.
"We are going to be hard to beat no matter if our game is good or not because the organisation in the team is very good.
“We’re fighting not to concede goals, so we’re very well balanced in the defensive part.
"The last two games I don't think we've performed very well but we've still got the three points.
"We need to improve our offensive part and we'll get better as a team and we'll get better wins."
Ironically, it’s been Jakobsen’s switch from defence into midfield which has coincided with City’s improved defensive record.
New recruits Bart Schenkeveld and Iacopo La Rocca have formed an excellent partnership in the heart of defence, allowing the Dane to shift into a holding midfield role.
"I like challenges and this is a new challenge," Jakobsen said.
"I had a talk with (coach Warren Joyce) and he said he might want to use me there and against Victory he felt that was the right thing to do.
"It's an unusual position but I like it because you're involved more in the defensive part.
“It's quite fun and I can blow off some steam and run around a lot. I really enjoy it."
City haven’t been Sydney FC in the Hyundai A-League in over a year but did beat Graham Arnold’s side to win last year’s Westfield FFA Cup at AAMI Park.