Melbourne City FC attacker Jamie Maclaren is itching to finish the season strongly and head into the 2019/20 Final Series with momentum ahead of City’s return to play next Saturday 1 August against Sydney FC.
Despite facing an uncertain period, where City - alongside Melbourne Victory and Western United - failed to enter New South Wales before facing a 48-hour lockdown period within the hub, the attacker says the experience has made his team even tighter.
“Obviously what happened in the last few weeks is well documented, I’m just glad that we’re here now after a few hiccups and the boys have been full of confidence training,” Maclaren said.
“We were stuck in our rooms for the initial 48 hours and not being allowed to train in that period after we’d really been progressing on the training track was tough, but it’s time to move on and not worry about those things, we just need to kick on and have one focus which is really to win as many games as we can,” he added.
“We feel as though we haven’t been away from each other for as long as we actually have because we’re such a tight-knit group, the experienced boys are so close with the younger boys and it’s great that we can be in and around and having meals together and playing FIFA every single day.
That’s what you need, you need to be really confident as a group moving forward because we’re going to need all our players. There’s going to be a period where we play a lot of games in a small amount of time and we need everyone to be ready to take their opportunity when it’s given.”
Although admitting that the form of each team is the great unknown for the remainder of the season, Maclaren emphasised that City are in the best place possible to succeed on the pitch.
“It’s the complete unknown, for us we’ve had a great break but we’ve also had great support staff around us that have given us programs to work on in the offseason, we all had our separate sessions to really abide by and we’ve all come back in great condition,” Maclaren explained.
“We’ve put in the work from last July to now, it’ll be a shame for any club to drop their bundle now but for ourselves it’s about continuing from where we left off because we were in some decent form heading into this break and this club hasn’t finished second in their history – so for us it’s really important to keep winning games.
“In the finals series anything can happen, we’ve put ourselves in a great position and it would be a shame for us to drop our bundle, but we have no intention of doing that.”
Maclaren alongside his teammates and staff will be looking to create Club history when they complete the 2019/20 campaign as they chase City’s first championship trophy. Reflecting on everyone’s efforts to finish the season, the star striker acknowledged the sacrifices everyone has made during this difficult period.
“It’s a credit to everybody, not just the players but also the staff who have picked up their stuff and headed away from their loved ones to finish this season,” Maclaren said.
“We all need to really stick together, as players and as clubs in this league. But all I can say is that Melbourne City as a club are all in this together and we can’t wait to get our three games underway and hit the finals series with some real momentum and firepower.”
City return to football against Sydney FC on Saturday 1 August at ANZ Stadium, kick off 5:00pm, before taking on Adelaide United and Western United.