Michael Valkanis has defended Melbourne City’s culture and praised the club’s youngsters after his understrength side came from behind to draw with Brisbane Roar on Saturday night.
City was without nine first team regulars through suspension and injury at AAMI Park but somehow found enough to fight back from 2-0 down at half-time to draw 2-2.
Veteran keeper Thomas Sorensen was superb for the home side while teenagers Dylan Pierias and Denis Genreau caught the eye on their starting debuts.
“The young boys were excellent and even the older boys with experience like Tommy Sorensen did a great job to make sure in the end we got a result,” a proud Valkanis told Fox Sports afterwards.
“I would have liked he three points but the boys were fantastic. The young boys have come in and they are full of energy and they have given everything.
“There’s been a lot of comments about our culture and I think we showed what our culture is all about here at Melbourne City today.”
After their midweek heroics in China against Shanghai Shenhua, Roar rode that wave of momentum in the first half as Jamie Maclaren’s brace had them cruising at half-time.
But City weren’t to be denied, with two goals in the space of three minutes from Bruce Kamau and Nicolas Colazo allowing them to salvage a point and keep their spot in the Hyundai A-League top four.
Asked what he told the team at halftime, Valkanis said the message was just to stay positive.
“I don’t think we were outperformed or Brisbane really deserved to have a 2-0 lead,” the City boss said.
“We had to be positive with the boys to keep the vibe they had at the beginning of the game. We told them to maintain their cool and just focus on the game plan and that’s what they did.
“They did fantastic to work back into it and unlucky not to get a third as well. In the end, with backs against the wall today and with a very young team, we did well.”
City is on the road next weekend, heading to New Zealand to play Wellington Phoenix on Saturday afternoon.