Melbourne City v Perth Glory preview

by Ben Gilby (26/12/22)

MELBOURNE CITY:

Above: Melbourne City interim head coach Dario Vidosic speaking to the media today. Image: Melbourne City.

Melbourne City interim head coach Dario Vidosic expects Hannah Wilkinson to return to his squad for tomorrow night’s game with Perth Glory at AAMI Park.

Vidosic also revealed that Matildas international Emma Checker could potentially play some part in the encounter depending on the outcome of late checks: “Wilkie (Hannah Wilkinson) will more than likely play, Emma Checker, we’re looking at, she was sick for quite a long time and so has missed a lot of training.”

City come into this match, their second in four days, on the back of a 4-0 win at Canberra United. Whilst the scoreline was comprehensive, the City head coach didn’t feel that the performance was.

“In patches we were good (against Canberra United), but we didn’t have as much control as we had against Western United (in their previous game). There were some technical errors. It’s a hard place to go, Canberra. When we played well, we looked good.

“But I sometimes forget how young they are. We had a 16-year-old, two 17-year-olds, 19, 20, 18-year-olds. They are learning a lot. I can be harsh sometimes forgetting how old they are.”

One of those young stars is 16-year-old Daniela Galic, who scored her first goal in the win over Canberra United, and has been one of the young stars of the competition this season. The City boss is proud of the young star.

Above: Daniela Galic – the 16-year-old is one of the brightest young stars in the league this season. Photo: Melbourne City.

“She’s very talented. She’s 16, we demand a lot from her, but that prepares her for bigger and better things. Everyone sees her talent, and I think her future will be overseas, and hopefully at a high level. I’m just trying to look after her, teach her, and let her play. At the end of the day everyone wants to have fun. Matchday we want to win, but at their age, they want to enjoy it.”

Vidosic knows he is up against a Perth Glory side who are well rested, having their last game, also a win over Canberra, nine days ago. Despite this, the Sky Blues boss isn’t too concerned about the opposition. His full focus is on what his own team are doing.

“They (Perth) want to keep the ball. We won’t change too much. We want to be the dominant team, we’re playing at home, at AAMI Park, so we want the points…and build into the New Year.”

With Vidosic now well into his second month as a head coach, he reflected on the process of taking over and making his mark in the game from the sidelines. “At first it was a shock (being asked to take over). I’m quite similar (to my Dad, Rado). We want the ball all the time, we want to play an excitable brand. After some of our game, we’ve had people come up to us saying ‘youse play great football’, and that’s what it’s all about.”

The chance to step up as interim head coach at Melbourne City is the culmination of a process that Vidosic himself began preparing for whilst still playing

“Even when I was playing, in my mid-20s. I noticed what Barcelona and Pep Guardiola were doing and I started analysing. I just want to enjoy and keep learning.”

PERTH GLORY:

Above: Perth Glory head coach Alex Epakis says confidence is high ahead of his team’s battles with the top two sides in the competition over the next five days. Image: Perth Glory.

Perth Glory head coach Alex Epakis is urging his team to use the huge confidence boost that they got in coming from 2-0 down to defeat Canberra United in their last outing when they travel to Victoria to face Melbourne City tomorrow.

Speaking to the media, Epakis highlighted: “The team is in really good spirits and there is a great energy and buzz among the squad. It’s great to be part of it.”

After having nine days between that win over Canberra United and their game against City, the Western Australians now face two games in five days against the competition’s top two sides, with Western United coming to Macedonia Park on New Year’s Day. On top of that, the squad face two 2,700 km flights thrown in for good measure. It’s a test that the Glory have to pass to get their Finals bid on track.

“We know it’s an important period coming up. We’ve got a few games in quick succession and we want to make sure we start off that run of games over the festive period high in intensity on the back of our last performance (against Canberra).

“That win was very important and a lot of players grew in confidence in themselves more than anything. That sort of result was similar to ones we had last season and the way we won games. We know we are capable of those sorts of gritty performances and winning when it doesn’t look like we will – 90 minutes is a long time and things can change quickly as we saw against Canberra.”

Above: Perth Glory players come together – the Western Australians know their next two games are vital. Photo: Tom McCarthy.

However, Perth will know that having a slow start and mounting a comeback against Canberra is one thing, Melbourne City are a very different beast, with only one defeat all season, and the competition’s top scorers.

“We have a different type of test for this match. We’re going to have to be better,” Epakis recognised. Hopefully, we can manage our performance from minute one to minute 90 to make it easier for ourselves.”

“They are a very strong outfit. They have traditionally been for a number of years now. They are a very dynamic and athletic team. We have to match that aspect of the game and we have to be really good and disciplined in the moments we don’t have the ball, and in that transition period. With the ball, we’re as good as anyone.”

Epakis revealed that preparations for the match included training on Christmas Day. “They (the players) were talking of getting me a Grinch outfit. I think they think I am the Grinch with or without the outfit!

“We did our usual two-day preparation for any game, and it just so happened that it fell on Christmas Day. To be fair to the players, they haven’t shown any disappointment. We were done early in the morning and enjoyed Christmas away from the team.”

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