The Melbourne Derby mind games have begun with City’s attacker Nick Fitzgerald saying the pressure is on Victory heading into the third and final regular season derby on Saturday night.
Both derbies this season have been explosive affairs with Tim Cahill’s wonder goal laying the platform for a famous 4-1 win in October before Besart Berisha and Marco Rojas inspired the Big V to a 2-1 win in the Christmas Derby.
With City in fourth chasing Victory in second spot with six points between the two sides, a win for either side would be pivotal at this time of the season.
“I definitely think the pressure’s on them.
“They’ve been coming out in the media saying they’re pushing on and are the better team in the city,” Fitzgerald told www.a-league.com.au
“So at the end of the day if they say stuff like that, they’ve got to come out and produce.
“We’ll go about our business as normal and go into the game with confidence. Hopefully we can get all three points and get bragging rights for this year.
“For me, the pressure’s on them," stressed the 24-year-old midfielder.
If City are to win a second derby in a season for the first time ever, then stopping Berisha and Rojas looms as key at Etihad Stadium.
Berisha, the greatest-ever scorer in Hyundai A-League history just loves playing against City.
In his last 12 games against them, he has been a constant thorn in their side, scoring 10 goals.
In fact, in his last eight derby appearances, the 31-year-old has scored seven goals.
And Rojas, the Kiwi international, has provided four assists for Berisha this campaign, the most of any combination in the competition.
Cahill, however, has delivered in both previous derby clashes this season scoring in each clash, including his stunning 40-yard volley back in Round 2.
With five goals in his last six games, the Caltex Socceroo heads into this one in pretty good form.
Interestingly, both City and Victory have lead at half-time on nice occasions in the 2016/17 Season, more than any other club in the competition.
And when leading at the break City has never lost, while Victory has once, in the round 5 defeat to Sydney FC (2-1).
“They’re at home and I know it’s two Melbourne teams but they’re [Victory] at home in front of their fans and it’s important for them to win,” added Fitzgerald.
“But for us, we’ll go about our business. We’ll go in into the game confident that we can get the result.
“We’ve just been going about our business and picking up some good points and putting the pressure back on Victory.”