Joyce: ‘City’s loss a pre-finals wake-up call’

Melbourne City boss Warren Joyce admits Saturday night’s loss to Wellington Phoenix is a cause for concern ahead of their Elimination Final on Friday night.

City lost 2-1 to the lowly Phoenix in Auckland to snap their three-game winning streak heading into a do-or-die clash at AAMI Park in the finals.

While the result against Wellington had no effect on their finishing position, the City boss concedes the manner of the performance wasn’t good enough.

“You’ve got to be better than that,” Joyce said.

“You can make excuses yourself and say ‘oh it will be alright next week’ but we’ve got to be better than that if we want to progress and be where I’d like us to be.

“It’s great that we’ve achieved third spot in the league and [potentially] get [Asian] Champions League football, but that’s not enough.

“If your aim is to be emulating Sydney who have dominated the league for two years, they don’t make mistakes like that.”

Oliver Bozanic; Sarpreet Singh

City dominated the early exchanges against Phoenix and took a deserved lead midway through the first half through a wonder-strike from Uruguayan Bruno Fornaroli.

But they were unable to go on with the job after that, eventually undone by two goals from Phoenix youngster Sarpreet Singh either side of the break.

“I thought we still created quite a few chances in the second half, but we ran with [the ball] a little too much in the second half,” Joyce conceded.

“But after the spell leading up to the first half an hour we didn’t pass the ball quick enough. We were passing it too slow.

“We still passed it, but without the same purpose or cutting through the lines and creating opportunities.

“You can pass it and not go anywhere but we don’t want to do that; we want to cut between the lines, play with a purpose and create opportunities and I thought we got casual and sloppy before half time.”

Daniel Arzani