City Head Coach Michael Valkanis has lauded his side’s professional performance against Adelaide United on Friday night, saying he was pleased with both the effort and performance of his side to collect all three points.
The win inches City closer to a home final, moving to equal points with third placed Brisbane in the race for third spot. With three points against one of the in-form team of the competition in Adelaide in the bank now for Valkanis and his side, the Head Coach says he can only take positives from the strong showing at AAMI Park.
“Am I happy with the boys? Yes, because they had to get the job done today. Am I happy with their effort? Yes, because they fought right until the end. Am I happy with a clean sheet? Yes,” he said.
“You’re playing against Adelaide who play a similar style to us, so it was always going to be an arm wrestle. We were playing a team that’s got nothing to fear, they’re playing free.
“They come into the game with a different mentality, whereas we’re playing with a bit of pressure, because we want to finish as high up on the ladder as we can and go up into the finals prepared.
“It was probably possession stats and passing stats that were relatively equal, but in terms of shots at goal and clear cut chances, it could have been two or three goals.
It was Tim Cahill’s header after 34 minutes that separated the sides as the Socceroos all-time leading scorer notched his ninth goal in City colours this season and it was hard to gloss over the influence of City’s number 17.
“His performance on the pitch, his workmanlike attitude, his pressing and work rate off the ball to midfield, create an extra player and slow down the tempo when it was needed, I thought he was exceptional. He did a very good job for us,” he said.
“His body is in great shape. It helped a lot during that period where we did rest him a little bit. We made sure that he did a certain amount of training and we were protecting him with the amount of load at training. He’s looking really good.
“He copped a knock on the shin but he was just a warrior. He just kept going, you know what Timmy’s like. I thought his goal was exceptional and his performance was very good."
But it was the clean sheet that pleased the former defender - now City Head Coach - most and it was no coincidence the return of Michael Jakobsen helped the cause as Valkanis couldn’t wipe the smile off his face after his return performance.
“He’s trained well and we needed him to get 90 minutes under his belt. He’s a professional and he’s trained very hard,” he said.
“I thought he had another very good game, a defenders like performance. His organisation, his leadership at the back and he lifted everyone around him as well."
“If you have a look at his stats, he’s probably the best defender in the A-League and he’s very important to us and the playing group.
“Moving forwards it’s fantastic for him to play 90 minutes and very important next week for him to get another 90 minutes under his belt before we go into the finals."
City head into the final week of the regular season preparing for a tough assignment away to Perth Glory on Sunday, kick-off 5pm.
Stay tuned for updates on Finals Series ticketing information that will be shared with members and fans during the course of the week.