After re-signing for the 2020/21 season back in September, French midfielder Florin Berenguer is excited to be back at City and is looking forward to playing in front of the home fans again.
Berenguer joined City prior to the 2018/19 season, and he admitted that his first season at his new home probably wasn’t his best. He didn’t manage to get on the scoresheet from 20 appearances that season but Berenguer said that it wasn’t something that bothered him.
“For me statistics aren't important and it’s not like I’m thinking that 'I have to score'," he said, "I do whatever I can to help the team most and want to make sure that I am always improving my game.”
While as he said scoring isn’t everything, Berenguer did manage to find the back of the net three times last season despite missing the first couple of months of the season due to a hamstring injury.
“Statistics aren’t everything but still to score a few goals was good for my confidence and that definitely helps the team,” he said.
One of these goals, and Berenguer’s best performance of the season came in the Round 18 Melbourne Derby win. The Frenchman opened scoring with his first goal in City colours, assisted by a lovely piece of play on the wing from Adrian Luna. After helping City control the midfield for much of the night, he stepped up again in the 71st minute, pulling off a delightful backheel to assist a Jamie Maclaren goal.
He would go on to again score against Perth and Newcastle before the season was paused due to the Coronavirus outbreak. He continued his good form once the season had resumed and City had re-located to the Hunter Valley hub, although he said it was a ‘crazy’ experience.
“For me it was very hard to leave my wife and kids at home,” Berenguer said.
“Without having family around it was certainly tough but it was the decision I had to make because it's my job.”
With the 2020/21 A-League season now just a little over a month away, Berenguer hopes this is a situation he or anyone else is never faced with again.
“We are now very happy that Melbourne is getting back to normal and hopefully this season all runs smoothly and we never have to deal with something like that again," he said.
It has now been over eight months since City has played at AAMI Park, something that Berenguer and his teammates are very much looking forward to.
"For us, we just can't wait to play at home and have our fans back in the stadium because that's when we perform at our best," he said.
Reflecting on last season’s 1-0 Grand Final loss to Sydney FC, Berenguer was disappointed but said there had still been a lot accomplished by the group and it was an important step.
"I think we should be proud of what we achieved last season,” he said, “The loss is still at the back of our minds but we know what we have to do to be better than last year."
“We are determined to get back to that stage and when we get there, we know exactly what we need to do to win.”
Like a lot of his teammates, Berenguer was already very familiar with A-League Head Coach Patrick Kisnorbo who was Erick Mombaerts’ right hand man last year. He is excited by the opportunity to now play under ‘PK’ and said the squad has taken to him well.
"He did a great job as an assistant coach and I think he will continue to be do that now as the head coach,” Berenguer said, “We are all very excited to play for him and give our best in every training session and match.”
“He was here last year so for a lot of us, it's not something completely new or different."
The 2020/21 A-League season will kick-off on December 27. Stay tuned to melbournecityfc.com.au for fixture announcements in the coming weeks!