Melbourne City manager Warren Joyce has praised his side’s attitude in training after they defeated Wellington Phoenix 2-0 at AAMI Park on Friday night.
Goals to marquee men Ritchie De Laet and Bruno Fornaroli either side of half-time gave City a much-needed win after being trounced by Sydney FC 3-0 at the same venue a week earlier.
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Speaking post-match, Joyce said the squad hadn’t let their intensity drop after the demoralising result.
“Intent was actually the word that was used before the game last week, we wanted that in our play, we didn’t have it,” Joyce said.
“We haven’t had many bad days in the pre-season in training let alone games so your side doesn’t become a bad team overnight but likewise it doesn’t become a great team with one good performance so you’re just looking at consistency really.
“We’ve had that day in day out so if you’re getting that day in day out you expect decent performances on a weekend.”
The Englishman unveiled a somewhat surprising squad, omitting Luke Brattan and Anthony Caceres entirely, and reverting to a back three.
Joyce said their absence wasn’t targeted, admitting City were poor all over the pitch against Sydney.
“It could have been anyone last week [being dropped],” Joyce said.
“They both trained really well, anyone could have been left out last Saturday barring Bart [Schenkeveld] and you couldn’t have a grumble really.
“We’ve worked on different things during training, you pick the best players required to do the job tonight, Brattan’s certainly not a scapegoat for last week because he was no better or no worse than 10 other players.”
The win, which takes City to seven points, wasn’t perfect according to Joyce but he was happy with the application.
“I thought we played some good football, I thought we cut through the lines, created plenty of chances,” he said.
“There’s still some poor errors, decision making that invites pressure onto us when we don’t have to but we’ve still got some relatively inexperienced players who make mistakes in possession and decisions and sometimes that invited a little bit of panic in the second half.”
Phoenix coach Mark Rudan meanwhile bemoaned the ease with which City found their opener but was adamant there were good signs despite the result.
“There was a lot of pressure for both teams after last week’s results,” Rudan said.
“We started quite well and I think it was only the first occasion they entered into our half that they got a goal out of it and it does take a bit out of you.
“We were certainly looking for a reaction thereafter and the good thing was that we stayed in our shape, we stayed organised, the players didn’t go and do other things, we stuck to our game plan.”