04/03/2024

Melbourne City coach Patrick Kisnorbo feels his side are just focusing on what they control when they take on Western United (Picture: Melbourne City)

Heading into the new season Melbourne City coach Patrick Kisnorbo believes his side can get better saying there's more room to improve.

Melbourne City head coach Patrick Kisnorbo believes his side can only get better in the upcoming season as they look to defend their A-League crown.

Though taking out both the A-League Men’s Premiership and Championship in his first year as City coach last season, Kisnorbo is not being complacent ahead of the new season saying there are still many areas that need improvement.

“We have to be better at things and improve on things we didn’t really do as well on last season,” Kisnorbo told the media on Thursday.

“There’s always room for improvement in every area, we need to push harder, there’s so many areas to work on from last season and we hope to do that this season.”

Heavily fancied to take out the A-League Men’s title again this season, Kisnorbo is keeping a lid on things saying he’s purely focused on seeing improvements on the training pitch coming into their game with the Brisbane Roar.

“The expectation for our players is to train hard everyday, that’s it,” he said.

“My expectation is for the players to train hard, I can’t control anything else, what people say, we don’t pay attention to that, we just concentrate day by day and leading into tomorrow’s game, whatever happens at the end happens.”

Though coming into the season opener with plenty of optimism, a lot of doubt is circulating over whether the front three of Andrew Nabbout, Jamie Maclaren, and Matthew Leckie will all be available, with all three having been selected for the Socceroos recent qualifiers against Saudi Arabia and China.

Though Nabbout left camp early and should be available, Kisnorbo says he’ll be monitoring Maclaren and Leckie today with the duo arriving back in Melbourne on Thursday morning following their qualifier in the UAE against China.

“I know Andy is [ready] because he left early, Macca and Lecks we won’t know until they get in,” he said.

“Obviously we’ll see how they pull up before training and after training and we’ll make a decision tomorrow.”

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In addition to Maclaren and Leckie yet to be given the nod to play, City’s new signee Manuel Pucciarelli is yet to be confirmed, Kisnorbo saying that decision will also be made tomorrow on whether he’ll play.

“Pucc [Puccarelli] has come a bit later [into preseason] than everyone else, he’s fit ready to go and we’ll see the selection for tomorrow,” he said.

With several players from the City squad having been called up for their the Socceroos and Australia’s youth teams throughout the year, Kisnorbo says that having key players unavailable on international duties during the 2021-22 season is something that club needs to adapt to.

“I still think we have to adapt a bit, I think it’s going to be a year that is going to be up and down a bit,” he said.

“You can see already we are getting our players two days before the start [of the season], so we’ve had to deal with that instead of having them already here.

“It’s just one of those things we’re just going to have to deal with and adapt to, but we’re just happy to be home in our first game and play some football.”

Kisnorbo also noted on the youngsters he has as disposal with four players from Melbourne City with Conor Metcalfe, Marco Tilio, Nathaniel Atkinson, and Tom Glover all recently taking part for the Olyroos in Tokyo.

While the head coach understands that game time is crucial to their development, and while admitting the need to play consistently, he says he won’t be gifting the four players games either.

“I think part of that is that they need to play as many games as they can,” he said

“As you know no one is guaranteed a spot, so coming off an Olympic campaign they need to play on a regular basis, but football has competition, and part of that development is competing against someone that is in their spot, so we’ll see how they go.”

Kisnorbo would specially comment on Marco Tilio, with the 20-year-old impressing last season during the absence of Maclaren while on international duty and also scoring for the Olyroos against Argentina earlier in the year.

Though a promising prospect, Tilio is behind in the pecking order due to the depth City has in attack, and Kisnorbo says that even if the moves into the midfield he’ll be competing for a spot and won’t be handed out games.

“At the end of the day there’s other people in front of him, I will never a play a player just for them just to get minutes, they’ve got to deserve it and earn it,” he said.

“He may be able to play in the midfield we’ll see, but whatever player plays they’ve always got competition and that’s part of football.”

Facing the Brisbane Roar tomorrow night at AAMI Park, the reigning premiers face a side that has given them troubles in the past, but Kisnorbo says he’s only worried about what his side can c

“They’re [the Roar] a tough team, they’ve got some good players, but for me the focus in on us [and] how we approach tomorrow’s game,” he said.

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