Melbourne City boss John van ‘t Schip feels his side’s inability to handle the Wanderers’ physical approach was what cost them a result in a gripping Hyundai A-League clash on Friday night.
In a top-of-the-table clash which lived up to the pre-game height, City went down 4-3 at Pirtek Stadium in arguably the match of the season so far.
The match had it all - including a few feisty moments – which van ‘t Schip felt his side didn’t deal with well enough.
“They [Wanderers] were very physical and targeting, as you can expect, Bruno [Fornaroli] and Harry [Novillo] and Aaron Mooy,” the City boss said.
“We didn’t have a right answer for that. They wanted it clearly more.
“In the end they were aggressive and really wanting to get a good result and we didn’t have that enough.”
The Wanderers led 3-0 just after the hour mark through a brace to Mark Bridge and another to Mitch Nichols before City hit back with two goals in two minutes via Novillo and Fornaroli.
Anthony Caceres was then sent off with five minutes left to halt their momentum, with Brendon Santalab restoring the home side’s two-goal lead before Erik Paartalu got a consolation at the death.
“In the end we had to dig a bit too deep coming from 3-0 behind. The boys put in a great effort to close the gap but we just came short,” van ‘t Schip said.
“Playing with 10 in the end didn’t help as well.
“The only negative is the result and Anthony Caceres got sent off in my opinion for nothing. He was devastated after the game.”
City’s cause wasn’t helped losing skipper Patrick Kisnorbo to an Achilles injury after just three minutes, while Aaron Hughes pulled out on the day of the match with general soreness.
Van ‘t Schip is unsure on the severity if Kisnorbo’s injury, with scans over the weekend to determine the extent.
City has nine days until their next match, making the trip to Hunter Stadium to play Newcastle next Sunday.