'We were very strong' - Mombaerts bouyed by City defensive improvement

Melbourne City boss Erick Mombaerts has praised his side’s defensive fortitude after shutting out in-form Perth Glory in a goalless draw on Saturday.

Neither side was able to find the breakthrough at AAMI Park in the clash that saw both sides lose ground to Hyundai A-League leaders Sydney FC in the title race.

Mombaerts side have now notched consecutive clean sheets for the second time this campaign in a promising development for the Melburnians, who have shipped nine more goals this season than their top three rivals.

“I want to congratulate our team about our defensive performance. We were very strong, we conceded not too many chances,” Mombaerts said.

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City have added Celtic defender Jack Hendry on loan in the January transfer window, with the Scottish national representative making his Hyundai A-League debut in the clash.

Mombaerts explained how his addition to the squad prompted some juggling in his backline, including a wider role for the impressive Harrison Delbridge.

“I had to find some solutions and it was one option I had,” he said of Delbridge's switch.

He added: “I think Harrison has different qualities to Jack. Jack is more a central defender and Harrison can do this job.

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“It is not easy in our style of play to play for right back but also move in to be a centre back but Harrison can do this better than Jack.”

Despite the defensive focus, and with a crucial three points still in the balance late in the contest, Mombaerts also explained he was not settling for a draw despite introducing the defensive-minded duo Rostyn Griffiths and Scott Galloway in the closing stages.

“It was just because we don’t have too many options about midfielders,” he said.

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Also pleased with the defensive display of his team, Glory coach Tony Popovic said he felt his team should not be disappointed with the final result against a tough opponent - despite it bringing to an end a club record six-match winning run.

“Of course, we are happy,” Popovic said.

“We’re away from home, we’ve had two consecutive tough games – Western Sydney and now here in Melbourne – and we are playing a team that is expected to be up there. It is a good away point,” he said.

The Glory now have six clean sheets in their past seven Hyundai A-League matches.


Round 17

Adelaide United v Melbourne City
Saturday, 1 February 2020
Coopers Stadium
Kick-off: 7.00pm local, 7:30pm AEDT

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Match Centre

Perth Glory v Melbourne Victory
Saturday, 1 February 2020
HBF Park
Kick-off: 6.45pm local, 9.45pm AEDT

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Match centre

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