Ahead of Saturday night’s fixture against Western United, Melbourne City forward Andrew Nabbout spoke to the media about the FFA Cup, another matchup with Western United, closing out matches and staying away from the beach to maintain his full-capacity training.
After a tough outing just 17 hours earlier in a 1-0 victory over NPL outfit Hume City in the FFA Cup, Nabbout was all business ahead of training on Thursday.
The ability to close out the match given the failure that City had in doing so against Adelaide United a few days prior in the Isuzu Ute A-League was not lost on Melbourne, with Nabbout describing the closing stages as “part of the learning curve to see out games and good for the young boys to experience”.
Not a new experience for City, with a close contest against Brisbane Roar in the opening fixture of the league, as well as on several occasions last season, Nabbout said it is because of City’s game being to start on the front foot to try and put teams away early, which forces the opposition to try and salvage something in the last 20 minutes.
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With the A-League Mens being a summer competition, that presents its own challenges with temperatures starting to heat up, and recovery becomes incredibly important for the squad.
“We have to ramp up recovery [and] stay as hydrated as possible. It’s obviously going to take a lot out of us, the heat, but playing in Australia the majority of my career I’ve come to learn how to deal with it”.
The desire to want to head down to the beach of these hot days is definitely there, but it’s an emphasis on the group to stay professional during the season.
“[We’re] being extra vigilant and extra professional off the pitch to make sure we’re ready and recovered for the next day,” Nabbout said.
“Sometimes when it’s 30 degrees you want to head down to the beach, but you can’t because you have training the next day and you don’t want to be too drained.”Embed from Getty Images
Facing Western United already three times in the pre-season, Nabbout joked about “maybe playing centre back in order to surprise them”.
Of course, having played a team so many times can lead to familiarity and complacency, which was quick to be written off, with an emphasis put on “sticking to our game plan” and “making sure we are on point for 90 minutes and not just start off like a house on fire and then sort of fade off”.
Having played last season against a Mark Rudan-led Western United with a back five, compared to the now John Aloisi-led side with a back four and some dangerous new recruits has Nabbout excited for the battle.
“Their centre back is six-foot-six. We know they’re going to be dangerous on set pieces. They’re going to be aiming for him.”
Nabbout also knows he’ll have his hands full with Ben Garrucio at left back and he can’t wait to play in front of the home fans on Saturday night.
“He was here last year so it’s going to be a good battle. He’s a very good player and I can’t wait for this game and to play in front of home fans again.”
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