Maclaren about way more than goals says Mombaerts

Jamie Maclaren may be dazzling the Hyundai A-League with his red-hot scoring form but Melbourne City head coach Erick Mombaerts says his star striker provides so much more.

The 26-year-old marksman netted a double in the 3-2 win against Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday, making it a remarkable nine goals from four Hyundai A-League matches in this campaign.

Including his five FFA Cup goals and four strikes for the Caltex Socceroos in the October international window, Maclaren has 16 goals in last nine outings for club and country.

Following yet another match-winning display at Bankwest Stadium to send Melbourne City four points clear at the top of the ladder, Mombaerts was effusive with praise. 

“He is at a very good level,” he said.

“He is an international player. He can play in a level higher than the A-League, I think so.”

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Maclaren was a constant danger to Markus Babbel’s back-line as City rallied in the last 30 minutes to clinch a spirited comeback victory. 

He also reached into his bag and tricks and turned creator for midfielder Joshua Brillante, with a smart square ball, to put City 2-1 ahead. 

But for the French tactician, the sharpshooter’s contribution is about so much more than his phenomenal goalscoring record.

“He doesn’t need to have too many chances to score,” said Mombaerts.

“But also we have to see the fantastic work he has done in the high press.

“In the first half, we pressed a lot and he did a very good job defensively.

“That’s why we had to change in the second half to [put in more] crosses.

“In the future we have to cross more, to help Macca to score more.”

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The boundless energy Maclaren shows when aggressively pressing from the front is crucial to the style Mombaerts is imparting on the new-look City.

To create havoc in the opposition defence, City pile forward in numbers when they are not in possession to put pressure on the ball. 

And Mombaerts is currently happy to accept City’s opponents are sometimes going to cut through the gaps created by that cavalier approach.

“We have to accept that when we play high up in the pitch,” Mombaerts said.

“We have a lot of players involved offensively.

“We have sometimes a chance to concede some goals.

“We have to improve this, we know that.

“But it’s better to improve this when you win, so we have to continue like that.”

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Maclaren's record-setting run is giving City the breathing space to evolve defensively. The brace against Wanderers was the first time in competition history that a player had scored multiple goals in four straight Hyundai A-League games.

While Mombaerts has a player in the sort of lethal form Maclaren has discovered, he has no concerns about having to outscore other teams.

“We have to score three in every game, but we have an offensive style of play,”he added.

“I’m sure if we are more accurate defensively, it will be easy for us.

“We have to work on this. We know that, but we have focused more on our offensively style of play.

“Maybe it’s easier to work more on defensive now.

“But our mentality is fantastic because we have conceded some goals, but we know we can score more.”

Melbourne City host Perth Glory at AAMI Park when they return from their Round 8 bye on Friday, 6 December, kick-off: 7.30pm AEST.
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