Melbourne City boss Warren Joyce told reporters on Thursday that Bruno Fornaroli had not been able to force his way back into his first-team plans.
Fornaroli - a shock absentee from City’s Round 5 defeat at Brisbane Roar - is set to miss out again this weekend after being left out of the squad for a clash against Newcastle Jets on Sunday evening.
The Uruguayan striker has been City’s go-to man up front ever since arriving at the club in 2015 and has scored 48 goals in 70 Hyundai A-League appearances.
The 31-year-old also has 10 goals in his last eight matches against the Jets in all competitions.
But speaking after Fornaroli was left out of City’s squad on Thursday, Joyce said every player is in a position to force themselves into his plans.
“He’s not in the squad for the weekend,” said Joyce.
“I don’t think anybody needs time away from a football club.
"Everybody has got a chance every day to compete and force themselves into the team and that’s normal anywhere in the world.”
Joyce admitted he had a private conversation with Fornaroli last week about the reasons why the striker did not play against Brisbane and explained the standards he sets had not changed.
“Every player wants to play at a football club, that’s normal, you’d expect that," he added.
“The demands are no different than any other week that we’ve had during the season or since the first day of pre-season.
“The demands on Bruno [Fornaroli] and every player at the football club are the same every day.”
Referring to a meeting where City’s players said 'personal things', Joyce said his job was to ensure they would 'see those things through' before referring to a set of 'standards' that had been set.
“We made a commitment between all the players and all the staff to challenge ourselves and put the standards high,” he added.
“That raised the bar because there were some quite personal [things] in that meeting which you need if you’re going to get a dedicated group who are honest with each other and challenge one another.
“You’ve got to open yourself up and say some personal things and we did but then we’ve got to see those things through, push them through and live the standards as well.”
When quizzed if the club’s fans would see Fornaroli in a City shirt again, Joyce simply said that “everybody at the football club is desperate to do well for Melbourne City fans.”
The Jamieson example
Joyce explained there is a route back into the team for any player who finds themselves on the sidelines, citing Scott Jamieson as the example, the left-back breaking back into the starting line-up following an absence through injury.
“Everybody’s got their own reason why they want to win the league and what they are willing to sacrifice to make that happen,” he said.
“We’ve been really pleased with the commitment and effort behind the scenes.
"There’s been Scott Jamieson out the team at the start of the season through injury.
"We win at Melbourne Victory, he’s the captain, he fought himself back into the team by what he did on the training ground.”
Elaborating on training sessions, Joyce added: “If the standard of training is high every day there’s a pretty good chance it’s going to be high on a Saturday.
“If the standard of training is poor every day, there’s a pretty good chance it’s going to be poor on a Saturday.
“You can’t flick a magic button and all of a sudden produce when you’ve not been producing during the week so that’s the level of consistency that you expect from the players.”