‘I back Mathew no matter what’: Kisnorbo’s show of faith in out of form forward

Mathew Leckie hasn't yet met the lofty expectations placed on him since returning to the A-League Men. (Photo: Melbourne City FC)

Ahead of Saturday’s clash against Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium, Melbourne City head coach Patrick Kisnorbo is confident Mathew Leckie will reach the heights expected of him after a underwhelming start to the season.

Having appeared in five games for the club, Leckie is without a goal or assist to his name, but Kisnorbo says that the winger still needs time to adjust to the new environment.

“Everybody takes time, I don’t care who you are, just because someone isn’t scoring goals it doesn’t automatically mean he’s become a bad player, that’s wrong,” he told media on Friday morning.

“The way we play is difficult…it takes time… this is generally of players around the league, it just doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the same with Mathew, I thought he [did] some really good stuff on the weekend, and that shows his growth, he’s building and building.

“When everything comes into place I don’t know, but I know every player that has come from overseas at this club and played solid football has always had an adaption period, and I understand that. I back Matthew no matter what.”

The City coach also touched on Leckie’s garnering of negative press during the week for the perceived lack of impact the Socceroo has had since joining the club.

Many believe that youngster Marco Tilio should be starting in the City XI in his place.

“The articles that you’ve read is irrelevant for me… what the pleasing thing is that he’s improving day by day and that’s what people don’t see, but I see [it],” Kisnorbo said.

“I’ll continue to back him, the club will continue to support him, the players will support him, we love having him around.

“It’s great to see that he’s improving day by day, especially to where he started from.”

Despite an uninspiring start to the season, Kisnorbo is confident that Matthew Leckie has an important role to play. (Photo: Socceroos)

With several players out of action due to health and safety protocols, the City boss says another four players during the week have returned positive tests and will be out of action against Adelaide.

“We’ve had another four [players] test positive, it’s been a difficult time to be perfectly honest… that is something we can’t control,” he said.

“It’s trying to adapt the best way, we’re doing our best at the moment but it’s very hard to get rhythm when players are still contracting the virus. It’s kind of the world that we live in, I understand that, but we’re just trying to adapt to [the] circumstances that we face at the moment.”

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Kisnorbo gave an update on the status of defender Curtis Good, who’d spent the previous weeks out of the squad due to contracting the virus.

The coach says Good is still not at 100 per cent, and won’t be rushing him back into the team, saying his health is what’s important.

“Yeah he’s still got a bit [of time out on the sidelines] I think, some players have been affected worse than others and he’s one player that it has unfortunately affected him,” Kisnorbo said.

“So it’s a bit longer [that’ll he be out], but we’re doing our very best. Because this is so foreign we need to take it step by step, because the player’s health at the end of the day is most important.”

With the club allowed to postpone games if five players or more test positive in the lead up to matchday, Kisnorbo is indecisive if the club will postpone or play out fixtures with a weakened squad, saying the side has a busy schedule in the coming months.

“Honestly I don’t know [if we’ll postpone games], we’re struggling to fit in games as it is, we have a very busy schedule from now to [the start of] the Asian Champions League,” he said.

“If we did cancel, [and] someone contracted a case where it makes it five [players out with the virus], I don’t know where will have the time to put it in… at the moment we push forward with tomorrow’s game and start preparing for that.”

Ahead of tomorrow’s game, Kisnorbo says he was able to take some things out of their clash against Adelaide United earlier in the season, but says he’s not expecting the game to play out exactly the same way.

“There are some good things we took away the last game we played against them, obviously there’s improvements as well [from both sides since then],” he said.

“It could be a different game [on the weekend] but we took some positive moments out of the game.

“We’ve been trying to build on [since] that game… I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, I can’t control that, but we’ll go out there and give it our best and try and do the things that we’ve been working on.”

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