Mombaerts: Preparation key to finishing season strongly

Melbourne City FC Head Coach Erick Mombaerts has signalled the importance of adapting to the ever-changing environment of professional sport during this period as the key to finishing the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season off strongly.

City will complete their 14-day quarantine period in New South Wales on Saturday as the focus remains firmly on their return to play on Saturday 1 August against ladder leaders Sydney FC.

“We have to prepare well and we have to adapt well so that we can prepare for our next game now that we’re sure it’s Sydney,” Erick Mombaerts said. “All day we are very busy with training and video meetings as we try to spend all day preparing well for our next game.”

“It’s not very different [from usual training], it’s like pre-season, but maybe more for the players. They are all concentrating on their job and they are all concentrating on football - maybe sometimes it’s difficult having their families on the phone, that’s the biggest difference from being on a training camp and being back at home.”

Following City’s clash with Sydney on Saturday 1 August, Mombaerts’ men will take on Adelaide United on Tuesday 11 August before facing Western United on Wednesday 19 August.

“Honestly, I don’t know [if a lengthy gap between games is an advantage],” Mombaerts said.

“First thing is adaptation, we can’t control these things, we can’t control the future. The most important thing is to prepare well and to have practice games as we can’t have friendlies at the moment with the restrictions – the physical level of our players is good.

Providing an update on his squad, Mombaerts discussed a slight niggle to Curtis Good, Richard Windbichler’s return to fitness and Rostyn Griffiths’ 14-day quarantine period.

“Curtis Good had a muscle injury that he’s coming back from at the moment, I’m not sure if he’ll be ready for our first game,” Mombaerts said. “We don’t want to take any risks with Curtis, he’s an important player for us and we will see if he’s fit for Sydney.”

“Rostyn [Griffiths] is not here [with the team], but he’ll need to be in quarantine for 14 days from today [Wednesday]. He will not be available to train with us because we must respect quarantine, but we have organised a physical program for him,” he added.

“Richard [Windbichler] has practiced every day, he was injured for a long time but he’s now physically at a good level and ready to play. He’s played all our practice games that we’ve organised and he’s ready to be in the team – it’s good news with Curtis’ injury and Rostyn in quarantine. It’s great news for him too, he was out injured for a long time.

Mombaerts recognised Markel Susaeta’s contribution to the squad during his short stint at the Club and indicated that an opportunity now awaits for one of City’s youngsters.

“I’m disappointed that Markel had to leave because he was a really good player and a really good person, but in this situation it’s not easy for all, especially for foreign players,” Mombaerts explained.

“Now we have to adapt, we have a few solutions, we have [Lachie] Wales, we have Cola [Stefan Colakovski], we need to find a solution to substitute Markel. It’s more with our young players that we will look to organise.”