van’t Schip: We’re up for the challenge

City Head Coach John van’t Schip believes he has the ingredients in his squad to push the competition this season as they prepare for the season opener against Wellington on Saturday.

City face a Wellington Phoenix side who have been depleted by the FIFA international break but says there is enough quality in their remaining eleven to cause trouble to a lot of teams in the league.

“Everybody is talking about how they are missing players but if you look at their line up, it’s a very strong team,” van’t Schip said.

“It’s not like they are playing with a youth team, they are playing with Watson, Krishna, Finkler, Bonevacia, Lia, Fox, Doyle and Rossi and I think that’s not a bad line up. That’s a very experienced and strong squad.

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“We know they have a good footballing team, they can play. In the midfield they are strong and up front they are dangerous so we know they can play. Defensively they will be physical so it’s a team that’s playing at home first and we are not underestimating them at all.

“We’re focusing on how we want to play, how we want to play our game there and of course we are looking at their strengths and weaknesses.”

The Dutchman spoke to the media before the team’s departure for New Zealand and believes he has the right formula to tackle the A-League this season.

With his squad at full strength coming into the opening round and only Ivan Franjic, Corey Gameiro and Tim Cahill unavailable through injury and international duty respectively, van’t Schip believes a good start to the season will help his side establish themselves for a title push.

“We’re not going to hide it, we want to win silverware,” he said.

“We have the squad to be up there and do that. Of course, it’s about hard work and having a good attitude but we have competition for spots and we’ve brought in some good players.

“Every year we get new players so that pressure is not different from other years. We know that we want to be a club that wants to be on top every year so we’ll do everything to look at the squad, see where we can reinforce and that’s what we did this year as well so we’re up for the challenge.

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“All the teams are going to be up for it. Everybody has had a long pre-season, every player is buzzing to get out there to play that first game and every team will be motivated to get a good result.”

“We’ve had a good pre-season, we’re fit and have almost no injuries, so we are very happy with the state of the squad at the moment.”

We’ll be holding a special fan screening of the match on Saturday afternoon. Join your fellow City fans in Melbourne at The Mountain View Hotel, 70 Bridge Road, Richmond from 4.30pm with the match kicking off at 5.35pm. Join our event on Facebook!