Maclaren: Why Melbourne City are a different beast this season
The influence of coach Erick Mombaerts and a style that’s ‘easy on the eye’ has Jamie Maclaren convinced Melbourne City can break their Hyundai A-League title drought.
While City have won the FFA Cup in 2016 – and will also play in this year’s decider later this month – they have never tasted success in the Hyundai A-League.
But on the back of an excellent off-season, coach Mombaerts' experience, and some top-quality recruits, Maclaren has no doubt this can be their year.
“Definitely it’s a target. We have to believe it. If you don’t believe it you won’t achieve it,” Maclaren told Fox Sports.
“[Mombaerts has] come in with a real focus on winning something. It’s no surprise that we’re in [the FFA] Cup final already after he’s only been in charge for two or three months.
“He’s a real winner and us as players want to go out there and we really want to fight for him and play for him.”
The Caltex Socceroos striker added: “The way we play really suits us and we’ve brought in the right players to fit his system.
“We’re easy on the eye and, going forward, it’s great for me because the boys will create chances. I just have to keep my standards high by putting the ball in the back of the net.
“There might be expectations on us to win the league but we have a Cup final first and the league will take care of itself.
“I think you’ll see a different Melbourne City team to last year that’s for sure.”
If Maclaren can maintain his FFA Cup form then City will certainly take some stopping.
The 26-year-old has scored in all four rounds of City’s march to the final, finding the net six times including his brace in Tuesday night’s Semi Final win over Brisbane Strikers.
A number of those goals have been a result of excellent lead-up work from English recruit Craig Noone, with their thriving partnership already instilling City fans with confidence.
“He’s [Noone] going to suit this league massively,” Maclaren said of the ex-Premier League winger.
“He’s the sort of player who can get past players…and he’s not a greedy player so as a striker you think he’s going to beat his man and whip it in and make life easy for me.
“But it’s not just him. There’s Javier Cabrera who came on scored the other night and Adrian Luna as well. We’ve made some great signings.”
Maclaren won’t be involved in City’s Hyundai A-League opener against Melbourne Victory next weekend after his selection in the Caltex Socceroos squad for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Graham Arnold’s side will take on Nepal in Canberra on Thursday night before a trip to take on Chinese Taipei the following Tuesday (October 15).
“We need to put the foot on the pedal and go hard against these teams and show Australia that we’re not here to mess about,” Maclaren said.
“It’s great that we’re going to be in Canberra, I haven’t played there in over 10 years and then we’re off to Chinese Taipei.
“We expect to go there, win both games, put on a show and score goals.”