A fortnight off? No worries. Instead of venturing forward with no obvious direction, we saw the front three reinvigorated by a direct Nabbout, highly confident Noone and sharp-shooting Maclaren, who on another day would have bagged a hat-trick. Seemingly focused on strong pressing defence and intricate, direct counter attacking play, the playing group has taken to Kisnorbo’s tactical approach – which is to not let up, press hard, play harder. That is of course a basis of the City Football Group as well, brought to fruition by Mombaerts himself last season.
Sydney FC coach Steve Corica stated after the game that Sydney “didn’t deserve getting a point”. While I wholeheartedly want to agree, the fact that we let off the gas after the 70 minute mark really showcases exactly why complacency cannot enter a players mind this season – there is too much at stake, too much that can go wrong. The score line did flatter Sydney, of course, as we totally outplayed them. While online presence is indicating that our complacency came from Luna being substituted, I believe it points to something a bit more straightforward. Kisnorbo used one substitute prior to the 90th minute. By this time, Nabbout and Noone looked wrecked (and rightly so, they ran all night!)
Now, don’t get me wrong, Nabbout had an absolute stellar game, but he was certainly exhausted by the end of it all. The injection of a young player, such as Tilio or Colakovski is necessary around the 70th minute mark. This can improve the ability to get back in defence and go forward as quickly, which shown last night, works! Of course, you want the manager to put trust in the starting 11 for the entire game, but when it is not feasible to keep a man on who has just come back from injury – take him off.
Either way, whatever the score may have ended up being last night, it is hard to disagree on one thing; City have what it takes! We surely do, it is just all down to the ability to manage games for both the players and the backroom staff. Once that gets down pat, consistency, confidence and all the C’s will come – champions, maybe? At the end of the day, it was a fantastic win and an even better performance against the defending champions who have arguably been one of the best sides for the past 5 years in the league.
Only disappointment from last night was the crowd – but who can blame City fans for not showing? Coming out of a lockdown, midweek and overbearing AAMI Park regulations bring doubt into the minds of an on-the-fence fan, or even a die hard. If you have been living under a rock, AAMI Park have brought in regulations banning active support, singing, standing and compulsory masks (even if you are 20 metres away from the next group of people). Despite these regulations, which will surely be looked at again shortly, the night was a brilliant way to end a dismal February robbed of matches.
This has absolutely been our worst start to a season in years. This performance indicates hope, and I am incredibly keen to see where we go from here.