Melbourne City FC NPL coach Joe Montemurro believes his side have started to adjust to the rigours of the National Premier League despite a difficult start to their inaugural campaign.
A hard-fought 2-2 draw against Whittlesea Ranges at Epping Stadium last Saturday leaves City in seventh position on the NPL 1 West table after 13 matches, and Montemurro believes the squad turnover from the National Youth League has contributed to his side’s inconsistent start.
“It's been an indifferent season,” Montemurro said. “You have to take into consideration that from the NYL squad that we lost six starting players; older boys that could have given us more stability going into the NPL.”
“The transition has been really difficult but it has been a great opportunity to really work and learn and I think the boys are starting to get it, which is great.”
Photo: Bruno Silverii
City have at times struggled to adapt to physical approach adopted by their NPL opponents this season, but Montemurro insisted the focus must remain on player development and playing a style of football that is consistent with the Club’s philosophy.
“The objective is to play our brand of football,” he said. “With the ball we have a lot of possession. Teams are combating us by putting in two blocks of four and sometimes blocks of five. We can't penetrate and all it takes is us pushing forward and we get caught on the break.”
“We can't lose focus on developing footballers, training to the high tempo, detail and qualities that we need to produce a player at City, so it is very important to us.”
With the team moving straight into NPL duties following a championship winning season in the National Youth League, Montemurro believes exposing players to the unpredictability of the competition is the perfect way to develop the Club's next generation of talent.
Photo: Bruno Silverii
"It's exactly what we need from a youth development point of view,” Montemurro said. “The NYL challenged them tactically and technically but in the NPL we have an unpredictability of different systems, different structures and different sizes of players."
"It's about the physical and mental learning and I think over eleven months within the NYL and NPL we can really determine who is going to be a player and who isn't. It works perfectly for our youth development."
Melbourne City FC continue their NPL 1 West campaign against Richmond at Epping Stadium next Friday.