City’s new interim Head Coach Michael Valkanis says he and his side are ready for the challenge ahead after the shock departure of John van’t Schip.
The squad will play its first match without van’t Schip in charge on Friday as they take on the Western Sydney Wanderers and the new boss believes his side have had the chance to process the situation, saying they will “come out firing” at AAMI Park.
“It has been a big week,” Valkanis said to the media on Thursday morning.
“We weren’t expecting it and it has been a big week because he has been a big part of Melbourne City and Melbourne Heart when it first started, he’s been here from day one.
"He’s a special person JvS, a gentleman, a real football person and for me personally, one that I thoroughly enjoyed working with and we all did as coaching staff. It was important he brought his fist piece of silverware to the club as well so he will never be forgotten here and we have a lot of respect for him.
“It was a shock to everyone but we all have to move on. John asked for us to move on and he wants us to do really well but there is no doubt about it, we will.
“We’ve shown that at training and we’re really looking forward to achieving on what we set out to do at the start of the year and John will still be a part of that when we finish.”
Vakanis made it clear that the week is not just about one person, but the team looking to get back on the winners list and that starts against a Wanderers side where he feels three points is a must.
“What I’m interested in now is getting results and playing good football and focusing the team on getting back on track. I’m not going to shy away that we’ve sort of fallen away since leaving the cup,” he said.
“[John van’t Schip] had a word to the team as well about quickly focusing on the next game and giving support to the coaching staff and focusing on the task at hand and continuing on what we have set out to achieve.
“They’ve not trained like that for a while so there was a bit of a spark. We’re really looking forward to this game and we’re just focusing on a game by game.”
The challenge for not only Friday, but the rest of the term Valkanis remains in the role is exciting the former Adelaide United assistant, saying he’s changed a lot as a football person since his time on the pitch in the A-League
“I’m probably a little bit different to what I used to be six years ago and different to what I used to be as a player but certainly the passion won’t go out of me. I believe it's one of my strongest points that will still be there,” he said.
“It’s a great challenge, it’s amazing how things pan out sometimes and being at one of the biggest clubs in Australia as well. I’m comfortable because it is a great club amongst great people.
“I’m going to enjoy it, I’m going to give it everything I’ve got and we’ll take it from there, game by game, like we say to the players.”
City take on the Wanderers this Friday night at AAMI Park in our first home match of 2017. Click here to secure your place at the match or sign up for our three match membership.