City duo Michael Zullo and Paulo Retre believe the Melbourne Derby will be perfect way to bounce-back from last week’s disappointing result in Newcastle.
The two spoke to media at CFA Melbourne on Wednesday and felt this weekend’s contest would allow both sides to express their desires to be championship contenders this season.
“Derby games are always different, regardless of what results were in previous weeks,” Retre said.
“Anything can happen on the day and we are going to focus on our preparation this week and make sure everyone is up for the game on Saturday.”
“I think without getting over excited, we need to really show who is the real title contenders and I think this game can go a long way to defining the rest of the season,” Zullo added.
“This is a massive game for us for a lot of reasons. There is obviously the pride on the line because it is a Derby but add to that we are equal on points, so the weight of importance of this game is not lost on the team.
City sit in third position with superior goal difference however a point separates sixth to third and the duo felt this week’s six pointer could come down to how City pressure their opposition.
“For us, we need to come out of the gates flying which is different to what we did against Newcastle,” Zullo said.
“We just have to do what Western Sydney did to them, be aggressive and exert ourselves.
“The beauty about football is you don't have to be the biggest player or the strongest player to assert yourselves physically, which mean not giving them space on the ball, not giving them the extra second of time...I think we definitely have the players to defeat their game plan.”
For Retre and Zullo, their last Melbourne Derby experiences on the field couldn’t be more different. Retre found the back of the net for City in the last Derby while Zullo limped off the field in the first Derby of 2015/16 with a calf injury, but both players feel this contest is shaping up as a special one.
“It was good to score my first goal and score against Victory in the Derby, so hopefully I can do something similiar but if not, it's more about the performance of the team.” Retre said.