Melbourne City Y-League Head Coach Joe Palatsides has commended the collective efforts of his team following their 2-1 win over Perth Glory at CFA Stadium on Saturday.
The Glory took the lead in the 57th minute when Henry Hore’s strike from close range found the back of net, but City responded through Denis Genreau when the captain dispatched a scintillating free-kick into the top corner.
Second-half substitute Marko Delic pounced on an opportunity in the 79th minute to secure all three points and ensure that City remains undefeated.
A combination of senior promotions and injuries forced Palatsides into making six changes to his starting line-up from last week’s derby demolition. Following the match, he praised the mentality of his squad to not only come from behind but also for their ability to adapt to such changes.
“It was a really good performance,” he said.
“When you change that amount of players in a week – there were six changes from the starting line-up last week – the boys have to have a bit of continuity in the way they play.
“You could see early on we struggled a bit with that and then slowly we grinded ourselves back into it,” he added.
“This is a much younger squad than we had in previous weeks and for them to be able to come up against Perth – who are a very good team and gave us a really hard run for it today – especially after going 1-0 down was tremendous to see.
“It’s not just the players that play, but it’s all the players in the squad that prepare the team for the week. Whoever ends up playing ends up playing, but they’re all part of it and they showed that today.”
According to Palatsides, the on-field guidance and experience of Neil Kilkenny partnered with the leadership of Denis Genreau were vital to the performance of his young squad.
“It obviously helps when you have a Neil Kilkenny in there,” Palatsides said.
“The reason I played Neil as a centre-back was because we changed our whole back four – he gave them guidance.
“It may have been a different result without him in the backline guiding the young guys, because when you change your whole back four you’re always going to be up against it.
“It’s really a back five there and they are all new, so the guidance from the more experienced players was tremendous,” he added.
“I said to Denny as captain, that you have to really lead the group today.
“It’s a burden for a young player who’s got his career ahead of him, but it’s also a learning curve. I think Denny conducted himself really well on and off the park.”
Palatsides said the promotion of Ruon Togyik, Braedyn Crowley and Daniel Arzani to the A-League squad was “well deserved”, but he was also quick to acknowledge the other youngsters in his squad.
“Don’t discount the boys that played today as well, you’ve got Denny Genreau in there, you’ve got Josh Cavallo, Connor Metcalfe – you’ve got some pretty quality young players,” he said.
“Lucas Derrick is another one who played really well today,” he added.
“They are knocking on the door so it’s up to the boss who was here today to really take note.
“You look at Mark Karlic who played his first game and he was very solid in his fullback role. You look at Marko Delic who came on as a sub and scored a goal.
“Lesiotis came in for his first game and he was tremendous as well.
“But even Gianluca Iannucci, we think he’s going to be a very good talented player.
“Mitch [Graham] came in at the last moment as Lucas Portelli didn’t come through the warm-up – his mindset had to be spot on otherwise he could have been in there chasing the game rather than being proactive. He did exceptionally well.”
City's Y-League side have a bye this weekend before taking on Brisbane on Friday 29 December.