Melbourne City FC coach John van’t Schip has praised his side’s character after a 0-0 draw with Wellington Phoenix at Hutt Recreation Ground.
“I’m happy with the performance and the character after our loss in the (Melbourne) derby. We fought our way back into the game today and I’m happy with that”, said van’t Schip.
“It was a difficult game but we knew that coming here, knowing that we lost our last game and they lost their last two. In the first half and the first part of the second half we were clearly in the game. We put pressure on them and dominated for a big part.”
“We lost that control in the last half hour and were struggling to get into our play. We lost too many balls and Wellington in that period were pushing us back. In the end, I think the result is fair. We can work from this result to our next game.”
Van’t Schip said a second consecutive goalless outing wasn’t cause for too much concern.
“Our delivery has to be better. We have to be more clinical in our final third. If I have to be happy about something today it’s that we had a clean sheet. That’s very important for us because defensively we’ve struggled in a few games but today we looked very compact and solid. We now have to work on going forward and finishing the chances we create.”
The Dutch mentor denied his side was overly physical, despite picking up six yellow cards during the game.
“No, not at all. We have players who can fight and there were a few challenges that were maybe a bit late but honestly, I think the referees are looking very sharply at Jacob Melling. He made – in my opinion – a good tackle, but because other players then jumped in and start pushing him, instead of giving them the yellow card, Jacob gets the yellow card. I really think that’s not fair.”
“There were a lot of close encounters and out of that the referee decided to give a few yellow cards. We have to deal with it.”
Van’t Schip is sweating on the fitness of Irish winger Damien Duff who limped out of the game after just seven minutes with what looked to be an Achilles injury.
“Damien is a big part of our game plan, especially today with Josh (Kennedy) so we had to change that. Hopefully the injury won’t be too bad – we have to wait and see – but it doesn’t look good. He said he felt something snap and then he couldn’t walk or put any pressure on it. That’s not a good sign, but let’s hope when he wakes up, it’s a bit better.”
Melbourne City host Perth Glory in their next A-League game next Sunday.