Tim Cahill is looking forward to his first Hyundai A-League Finals Series and believes that his Melbourne City side have the mental toughness to succeed in the knockout format.
Michael Valkanis’ side take on Perth Glory in an Elimination Final at AAMI Park on Sunday, just one week after the two sides played out a nine-goal thriller at the nib Stadium.
Despite losing the game 5-4, City still finished fourth on the final A-League ladder, narrowly finishing ahead of the Glory on goal difference.
City and Perth have scored 20 goals between them in their three meetings this campaign, however Cahill doesn’t think that last Sunday’s game will repeat itself.
“The game [last Sunday] was a mess. I don’t think I’ve played in a game like it ever,” he said.
“It’s all in our hands now, we’re at home, we’ve trained really well and the togetherness is really strong. There’s still so much to play for.”
Cahill, who has played a similar format in the MLS with New York Red Bulls, believes that the Finals Series will suit City after winning the FFA Cup back in November.
“I suppose this sort of playoff mentality is probably the best position that we can be in now. Everything’s on the line and in the big games we’ve had to win [this season] we’ve won them.
“Here you have a playoff so you get another bite of the cherry, so for us it’s all to play for and I’m excited for more football.”
Despite conceding five goals last weekend, Cahill doesn’t think City should make radical changes to their defensive setup.
“We’re playing at home so I don’t want us to be defensive at home,” said the City forward.
“We’re the type of team that likes to play high intensity, we like to keep the ball, we like to attack and we love to play the game in the way it should be played.”
City haven’t beaten Perth in any of their three league games this season, however Cahill doesn’t think that will have any bearing on this Sunday’s clash.
The forward, who has scored 13 goals in all competitions this campaign, also believes that other teams will want to avoid City in the Finals Series, due to their performances in one-off games.
“I don’t think many clubs will want us to beat Perth,” he said. “That means that they’ve got to play us and I think in one-off finals against us they’d much prefer to play someone else”.
City take on Perth on Sunday in the Elimination Final, kick-off 7pm. Click here to secure your place at the match today.