Joyce: We want to challenge the players

Melbourne City Head Coach Warren Joyce says he will look to test his side’s boundaries during their nine-day trip to India to take on Kerala Blaster and Girona FC.

City will use the trip to ramp up their preparations for the FFA Cup and A-League and despite two big fixtures against foreign opposition, the focus for Joyce is clearly set on getting his side ready for its first competitive fixture on Tuesday 7 August.

“You want to challenge the players and put them in harsh circumstances and see how they deal with it,” Joyce said.

“Training in heat obviously is good for us, and we expect it to be challenging. You know, it’ll be double sessions and we won’t be tapering down for the games. We want to work hard, it’s still pre-season and we’re building up to the Brisbane game and more importantly, building up for the season kick-off in October.”

The first fixture will prove to be a good test for Joyce and his side as they face Kerala Blasters – looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2017/18 Indian Super League season – and in front of a loud home crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, the Head Coach says his side is relishing the opportunity to face one of the most famous clubs in India.

“We’re going to use that as a game where we play everybody forty-five minutes, it’s the first opportunity that we’ve had all pre-season to do that so that’s what that game will be used for,” he said.

“I know their manager but you don’t necessarily know what to expect from them and their side so we will play our game. All the lads looking forward to the opportunity to play in front of good crowd and we’re looking forward to giving a good account of ourselves.”

Melbourne City take on Kerala Blasters on Tuesday 24 July before taking on La Liga’s Girona FC on Friday 27 July.