Melbourne City head coach Patrick Kisnorbo has labelled his whole squad fully fit for this weekend’s match in Adelaide, however he may have to manage minutes due to the club’s busy fixture across the next week.
Somewhat of a selection headache might loom for Kisnorbo and his Premiership-winning team as they head into Round 2 for their first away fixture of the 2021/22 A-League Men season against Adelaide United.
Despite declaring that everyone was up selection for Saturday night’s contest after pulling up well following last Friday night’s 2-1 win over the Brisbane Roar, Melbourne City have a full-on week where they will be playing three games in the space of seven days.
Following Saturday night’s fixture in Adelaide, City then travel back home for a mid-week FFA Cup meeting with Hume City on Wednesday (after prevailing 3-0 over South Melbourne FC in the Round of 32) before a showdown with cross-town rivals Western United next Saturday.
Speaking to media on Friday morning, Kisnorbo says it’s all about playing it smart when it comes to who starts, who’s selected and who gets how many minutes on any given day.
“It’s sort of in the back of my mind but we need to concentrate on [the lineup] game-by-game,” he said.
“The squad pulled up okay after the game [last week] and everyone’s available for selection so we’ll train today and we’ll see how everything goes.
“[With] so many games coming up, the real focus is taking [it] one step at a time, not getting ahead of ourselves and just concentrating on the present which is tomorrow in Adelaide. After that, then we’ll deal [with] and worry about that.
“Maybe it’s a good opportunity for other players to get a chance. I look at it like that, it’s a chance for players to be available for selection and maybe get some minutes.”
One of those players who has been eased into his new team, striker Mathew Leckie, returned to the A-League Men competition for the first time since 2011. He started against the Brisbane Roar, only to be substituted off in the 63rd minute for 20-year-old youngster Marco Tilio.
A former Adelaide United player who’s been playing in various German leagues across the last decade, the national captain’s lead-in saw him miss the opportunity to play for the Socceroos and therefore valuable game time before the pre-season.
It’s an aspect that Kisnorbo said played into the reasoning behind not having him on the pitch for the full 90 minutes.
“[Mat’s] pulled up well… I can’t really tell you minutes played or what he’ll play but he’s definitely available to be selected,” Kisnorbo said.
“It’s one of those things where he had a bit of travelling and some game time before the start of the season, I think that was [a] difficult preparation but now it’s back to sort of normal.”
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Talking to the task ahead against against Adelaide United, the head coach said that while his side claimed the three points in their opening game of the season, he still felt like the team could’ve performed better in certain aspects.
The second half against the Roar was noted in particular, when their opponents looked to come back and finish strong, identifying City was looking to improve on all concerns this weekend.
“Frustration is because there is so much growth but I know that we’re not perfect,” Kisnorbo mentioned.
“There’s games that aren’t going to be up to a sort of standard that I want but the main thing is we showed resilience to get through he game when sometimes things weren’t going our way. We’ve sort of addressed the things that we needed to, we’ve worked hard on the training pitch and we’ll bring it into tomorrow’s game.
“We all know Adelaide’s always been a tough game because they’ve got some good players but for us, we concentrate on what we need to do and how we go on the pitch.”
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