Despite having secured a place in the FOXTEL Y-League Grand Final a month ago, Head of Academy and Y-League Head Coach Joe Palatisides’ says his side will head into the contest looking to reverse a poor run of form that marked the end of their regular season campaign.
City suffered two defeats in their last two regular season games, going down 3-1 to the Perth Glory in Round 6 and suffering a 2-1 defeat at the hands of rivals the Melbourne Victory in Round 7.
The Victory game in particular would have caused a number of concerns for Palatsides and his staff, with the first half effort turned in by City one of their more lacklustre displays of football in some time.
Despite watching his side improve in the second half, Palatsides marked several areas for his side to improve on before this weekend’s Grand Final against the Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday:
“We’re not at all happy,” Palatsides said
“We started off very slowly, unlike us normally, the intensity just wasn’t there. We pride ourselves on the tempo we set, both offensively and defensively, but it took us about 30 minutes to get going.
“By then, Victory had scored two and to be fair to them they probably could have scored a couple more as well. In the second we demonstrated some more of our true colours and showed what we’re about and we’ll take some positives from that but we’ll definitely go through the footage of the first half that wasn’t acceptable at all from our point of view.”
Looking for silver linings, Palatsides is hoping that the loss can motivate his players and reinvigorate them before this week’s Grand Final:
“We've qualified for the Final and some sense of complacency has maybe set in a bit,” Palatsides remarked.
“Maybe it took that good slap in the face in the first half to wake us up a bit, hopefully it will have done us more good than harm. We’ll be looking to bounce back as quick as we can.”
Despite the Y-League Grand Final representing the culmination of his side’s campaign, Palatsides will likely be running out a Starting XI without a number of players that have earned the call to Warren Joyce’s senior side.
“I’d rather see Atkinson and the Arzani and Metcalfe playing in the senior team and I think every else does as well,” he said.
“I told the boys at half time [Of the Victory game] that they’re in the pecking order for the senior team as well, but you can’t put out a performance like they did in the first half and hope to be selected.
“We sit back each week and the first thing we do is we want City to win and then the second part of that is me looking to see which one of my boys is up there on the big stage. That’s a great advertisement for our academy and the work that we’re doing with the boys and the effort that they’re putting in.”
This year's Y-League Grand Final will be held on Saturday 3 February, as Palatsides' side face Western Sydney at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle, kick-off 2pm.