As his squad prepares to take on the 20th edition of the Melbourne Derby, Head Coach John van’t Schip believes the side’s strengths on and off the park will speak for themselves come Saturday.
City come into the contest after a gritty 1-0 win in Wellington and will look for back-to-back wins in the opening rounds for the first time in Club history.
The Dutchman, who will prepare his side for his 15th Melbourne Derby, says his focus is squarely getting his chargers ready for the contest at Etihad Stadium.
“We are just focusing on ourselves and what we want to do and what we have been working on in the last few months,” van’t Schip said.
“I can’t control the things out of my hands. When the boys go out onto the pitch, you have to hope everything goes the way that you prepared for and I think that’s the most important thing, focusing on yourself and not worrying about your opponent.”
“We know Victory is a good team, they have strengths in their team as well and we just have to focus on ourselves and make sure we’re ready, we’re focused, we’re sharp and we can play our game.
“I think we have all the ingredients this year that we can achieve that. We have fighting spirit, we have good football players but still, we need to improve and get better. It’s just early days but it’s a great game to see how far we are in that aspect.”
The highly anticipated debut of Tim Cahill was confirmed by van’t Schip to the media on Thursday, saying the Socceroos all-time leading scorer will play a part in the Derby. The question of how long he will play is still the big question.
“Tim is physically in a good condition. The only thing that we have to look at is managing him and see how far he can come,” van’t Schip said.
“That could be 90 minutes, it could be 60 minutes, we just have to see and I think that in general, that’s how we have to work with a lot of the players but especially with Tim.
“He’s had a bit of an interrupted pre-season coming from China, going back to the States and then coming here. We’re not worried about that though, he’s going to have an impact for sure.”
The side story from last Saturday’s win was the performance of Dean Bouzanis after the ‘keeper was called upon to replace Thomas Soresen in the City goal. With his inevitable starting debut in one of the biggest fixtures in the A-League calendar, his coach has made it clear that the gloveman is more than capable of doing the job.
“I have confidence in Dean. A game like this, derby and a full house, every player should be up to that,” he said.
“We’re confident in every player we put on the pitch and Dean has done great since he’s been with us from January. He didn’t get a lot of opportunities to play but he did well when he came on.
“He’s shown in the sessions that he’s already very close and improved a lot so there are no worries.”
City take on Victory this Saturday night at Etihad Stadium, kick-off 7.50pm. Listen to van’t Schip’s full press conference below.