Melbourne Derby: The Coaches Views

Ahead of tomorrow’s A-League Women derby between Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City, Ben Gilby heard from both coaches – Jeff Hopkins of Victory and Rado Vidosic from City (11/12/21).

Above: Melbourne Victory head coach Jeff Hopkins pictured speaking to the media ahead of the derby. Photo: Melbourne Victory.

Melbourne Victory Jeff Hopkins admitted that excitement is building in his squad ahead of Sunday’s big derby between the two sides that many predict will be battling it out for first place on the ladder all season.

“We’ve had a great week’s training. The players are really enthused to see Lynn (Williams) and Alex (Chidiac) in training now. Especially after the news we had about Kayla (Morrison – out for the rest of the season through injury) which was a real downer. Kayla has been at training every day this week to see the girls. The playing group have pulled around Kayla. It shows the team culture and spirit we have.

Above: Hopkins told the media he is confident he was plenty of options when it comes to replacing the injured Kayla Morrison. Photo: Melbourne Victory.

“Chids has been back in Melbourne a while, she’s done her 72 hours of quarantine, so has been in training at the end of this week. With Lynn, she is all about the team. She says ‘play me where you want to play me and I’ll do what I need to do for the team’. Lynn has an ability to get the ball under control quickly. She’ll create things and she is a good striker. We’re looking to get her a bit further up the pitch, combining with our strikers, but also with Kyra (Cooney-Cross). I am confident that both will play a role on Sunday.”

Hopkins addressed how he plans to fill the massive hole at centre-back after Kayla Morrison’s injury. “We have a number of options, Courtney (Nevin) can slot in perhaps. There’s another two or three as well. Amy Jackson could drop in there at a push, although she is very important for us in midfield. We’ve had a play around in training this week, so I’m looking a bit happier than I was a few days ago!”

Focusing specifically on tomorrow’s derby, Hopkins said: “City: I’ve been impressed with them. We played them in pre-season as well, although neither of them teams looked like they do now. I’ve been impressed with their intensity, they’ll make things difficult for us. I’m expecting a really tight game. They have recruited really well, they are a lot stronger than last year.

“We need to improve with the ball – play a little bit sharper with it. There are a couple of things defensively we need to do better, and we’ve worked on that and sharpened up, it was a positive change from the players. The team are committed to getting better each week. The players are willing to listen and learn. We’re really looking forward to it – Melbourne derbies are big games – it means a lot to our players and our supporters. We’re getting maybe a bit too excited this morning, but we’ll release the energy at the right time on Sunday.”

Above: Melbourne City boss Rado Vidosic told the media his team has used extra preparation time to their advantage this week. Photo: Melbourne City.

Melbourne City head coach Rado Vidosic opened by discussing how his team have been preparing for the derby.

“It’s just been a normal week. We had a longer break between the two games (than Victory) and we have been able to both rest the players but also work hard. We are really looking forward to the derby, and the players can’t wait to get out on AAMI Park.

“Our next three games will be played at AAMI Park, which benefits female football in this country. It is unbelievable. Players can’t wait to get out there and start the game.”

“Everyone is available. We are still nursing Stotty, we don’t know how she will go from day-to-day. She was a bit fatigued during the week which is to be expected. She is much better today though.”

Above: Despite feeling that Sunday’s opponents Melbourne Victory were below their best last week, Vidosic told the media that he expects them to be front-runners this season. Photo: Melbourne City.

Turning his attention towards the opposition, Vidosic observed: “Victory are going to be strong, but they were nowhere near their best against Adelaide. They had several one-on-ones with the goalkeeper and plenty of chances. Victory’s opening goal also came from a gift from the Adelaide goalkeeper, which she won’t make again.

“The advantage that Victory have is that they have been together for a long time. Also, Melina (Ayres) will come back and Alex Chidiac is back so they will have a strong bench. They are going to be the front-runners along with Sydney FC.

“It will be interesting to see what they will do with Alex Chidiac. Will they play her? Will Amy Jackson play in the backline to accommodate Chidiac who is a good ball player.”

Vidosic also shared his wider observations from the opening matches: “The first round has shown that teams are not fit yet and games are oscillating from one end to another. Teams will get fitter and we will see better performances. Adelaide can perform better, Brisbane can perform better and Victory can perform better.”

Impetus’ coverage of Australian Women’s Football is supported by The Chicken Salt Co. They are offering every Impetus reader 5% off all orders of Chicken Salt from their website. Go to https://www.chickensalt.co.uk/?mate=impetus and place your order – 5% will automatically be taken off of the cost. The coupon code is impetus.

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