Despite Friday’s narrow loss to Sydney, Head Coach Warren Joyce was pleased with his side’s improvement since their last showing against the reigning Champions.
City were dealt their first loss of the season after a Luke Wilkshire volley was enough to separate the sides at AAMI Park.
With Joyce’s side surrendering top spot to the Sky Blues in the process, the Head Coach isn’t forgetting how far his side have come from since their pre-season form.
“I think there’s improvement,” Joyce said.
“The last game, similar things happened. If we don’t do our jobs or what we’re asked to do, good sides can open you up.
“I didn’t think they particularly run us ragged tonight. We gambled near the end but even then, they weren’t cutting us up. We have a way we want to play and it’s just people knowing their jobs with and without the ball.
“When we’ve won, we’ve defended well where people have been disciplined, organised and brave closing down people in dangerous areas. We need to retain that all the way through in every game and tonight was no different, but we had a spell but we didn’t do the other bit as well as we would like.”
City were made to make their first changes to the starting eleven in three weeks, with Scott Jamieson injured and Osama Malik suspended. With the early injury to Tim Cahill also adding to the equation, City were made to change their plans late in the piece but that was no excuse for Joyce who said everyone knows their roles.
“The change of personnel isn’t an excuse,” he said.
“You look at the way [Sydney] play. There was a difference in personnel but that’s no excuse or blaming the lads who came in. We probably would have set up in the same way regardless.
“We had a method of how to close them down and stop them in the first half and I thought we nullified them really. They didn’t cause us a great deal of problems and we had some good opportunities but gave the ball away too cheaply.”
Joyce and City now prepare to bounce back at home this week against Western Sydney on Sunday, kick-off 7pm. Our W-League side will be in action as well at AAMI Park as they face Newcastle, kick-off 4.30pm.