Mombaerts says City must be more aggressive for long-term success
Erick Mombaerts has demanded his Melbourne City side show more mental strength and more aggression to remedy their two-match losing run and set the standard required to challenge for honours consistently.
A run of three defeats to Perth Glory, Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC in four December fixtures has seen City enter 2020 with questions over the club’s mentality in crunch matches.
Mombaerts, 64, was tasked with making City into Hyundai A-League title contenders and developing a playing identity in Bundoora when appointed head coach back in June and admitted that he is frustrated by his side’s inconsistency.
However, the Frenchman did suggest that this transformation would occur ‘step by step’, and said his charges must rise to challenges now in order to lay groundwork for future success.
“We know that at the moment we have sometimes a very good team, sometimes a good team and sometimes a normal team. It's not enough,” he said.
“Players have to understand this and work on this, and their mental strength also. They have to be strong because our style is difficult to set up.
“That's why step by step they need to be stronger. As we want to play more in attack, we want to play high up the pitch and high press, for example, you need to be strong.
“The demands are maybe higher, OK, but it is like that. But why? Because now and in the future, we don't want to change [our style]. They have to adapt and to adjust their quality on this.
Mombaerts also suggested that in City’s mission to join the Hyundai A-League elite, his side could learn a few things from reigning Champions Sydney.
“We know that to be competitive it is not enough to play football, it is important to have a good attitude and intense attitude.
“Mentality is so important. That is maybe the difference at the moment between Sydney FC and the others.
“They show they are strong mentally. We need to follow this way and to improve our players to do the same.
"The style should be different, but the attitude has to be more aggressive and more competitive, and more constant.”
City will be aiming to trim their nine-point deficit to the Sky Blues to six with a victory against Western United on Friday evening, before Sydney host Adelaide United on Saturday night.
The club will be without Connor Metcalfe, Tom Glover, Denis Genreau and Ramy Najjarine due to Australia U-23 duties, and Mombaerts says he will hand opportunities to academy prospects like Moudi Najjar, Yaya Dukuly and Idrus Abdulahi.
Scott Jamieson is also likely to return to the fold for the visit of Western United after missing the Sydney defeat with illness, but Rostyn Griffiths faces a fitness test.
Melbourne City v Western United
Friday, 3 January 2020
Kick off: 7.30pm AEDT