ALM Match Preview: Staj seeking to build on positives against City

Glory Head Coach Alen Stajcic is looking for his side to build on the positives they showed in the early stages of last week’s away clash with Sydney FC when they tackle Melbourne City at HBF Park on Friday evening (kick-off at 6.45pm, tickets available HERE).

Click HERE to view his full pre-match media conference.

The men in purple created a string of excellent chances in the first 25 minutes against the Sky Blues, but were unable to capitalise upon them and ultimately went down to a 3-2 defeat.

Now Stajcic is targeting an extension of that bright opening in this week’s Round 7 clash with the reigning Premiers.

“The way we started last week, we felt that we should have got something out of the game,” he said, “but we drifted as the game wore on and ended up causing a few of our own problems.

“We certainly showed enough in the first 20, 25 minutes to show that we possibly should have got something, but we’ve got to sustain that for 90 minutes.

“Ultimately it was down to us that we didn’t maintain it.

“It wasn’t what Sydney did; Sydney just exploited those moments when we weren’t performing and weren’t executing the plays we should have been, with and without the ball.

“I think if we can build on that and get to 90 minutes of that, we’re certainly going to be in the top two or three in the comp, but there’s a long way to go and a lot of hard work to do and everyone knows that.”

The Head Coach went on to elaborate upon what the road to success looks like.

“It’s a matter of building every week and trying to improve every week and it’s not always a straight line of improvement,” he said.

“In sport and in football, there’s always ups and downs and you’ve got to ride the downs.

“We need to be resilient and tough and mentally strong in seeing the things we did well and just keep growing that.

“If we grow that over the next period of time, we’ll end up where a lot of the teams are that Naz [Assistant Head Coach Nahuel Arrarte] and I have been involved with got to.

“We’ll get where we want to get to, but it’s always a process.

“There’s no magic wand to make sure it happens this week, or next week, or the week after; you just have to knuckle down and do the hard work and little bit by little bit, put those building blocks in place.”

Stajcic is also very aware of the threat that Melbourne City will provide to Glory’s unbeaten record at HBF Park this term, but believes that the club’s Members and fans can play a key role in helping get the men in purple over the line.

“We know we’re coming up against probably the best footballing team in the comp over the last four or five years in terms of their ability to build up play and keep possession,” he said.

“They have so much quality on the field and on the bench as well.

“So we know we’re coming up against a good team, but if we play to our levels, I think we’re going to be a real threat.

“It’s been so great to play at home in those two matches that we did.

“There’s that inner belief that the players have walking out on HBF Park and we need all the support we can get, not only for our team, but for the A-League as well.

“It’s good to see that core group of supporters stick with the league and with the club and ultimately, it’s a bit like the team; we just want it to grow.

“We need more people to come in and support the team and give them that little extra helping hand, as there’s no doubt it’s going to be a tough game this week.”

In terms of early team news, meanwhile, Stajcic suggested that he may have some additional options at his disposal come Friday night.

“We have got a few players back this week and they’re all competing for spots now,” he said.

“We’ve got two more training sessions in what is a shorter week for us having returned from over east with only a six-day turnaround.

“So we’ve got those sessions to nut out who’s going to be in the starting line-up.”

City will head west off the back of a 2-0 away win over Newcastle Jets which marked the first time that they have managed to secure maximum points on the road this term.

Former Glory man Jamie Maclaren scored the second of his side’s goals in that victory at McDonald Jones Stadium to take his tally for the campaign to four, while new overseas recruits Tolgay Arslan and Marin Jakolis have both contributed two assists.

Other key men for the visitors include Socceroos trio Matthew Leckie, Aziz Behich and Curtis Good, vastly-experienced goalkeeper Jamie Young and Moroccan winger Hamza Sakhi.

City’s recent record in this fixture is impressive, with the Victorians having won on three of their last four visits to WA, but overall, Glory have claimed 17 victories to 12.

Isuzu Ute A-League 2023/24 Season Round 7

Perth Glory v Melbourne City

HBF Park

Friday 8 December 2023

Kick-off: 6.45pm WST

Perth Glory squad: 1.Oli SAIL (gk), 2.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 3.Jacob MUIR, 5.Mark BEEVERS (co-c), 6.Aaron MCENEFF, 7.Stefan COLAKOVSKI, 8.Mustafa AMINI, 9.David WILLIAMS, 10.Salim KHELIFI, 12.Luke IVANOVIC, 13.Cameron COOK (gk), 17.Jarrod CARLUCCIO, 19.Trent OSTLER, 20.Giordano COLLI, 22.Adam TAGGART (co-c), 23.Daniel BENNIE, 24.Oliver BOZANIC, 28.Kaelan MAJEKODUNMI, 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 77.Bruce KAMAU

Two to be omitted

Ins: 3.Jacob MUIR, 8.Mustafa AMINI, 9.David WILLIAMS

Outs: 15.Aleksandar SUSNJAR

Unavailable: 11.Adam ZIMARINO (injured), 14.Riley WARLAND (injured), 15.Aleksandar SUSNJAR (injured), 21.Antonis MARTIS (injured)

Melbourne City squad: 1. Jamie YOUNG (GK), 2. Scott GALLOWAY, 7. Mathew LECKIE, 6. Steven UGARKOVIC, 8. Hamza SAKHI, 9. Jamie MACLAREN (C), 10. Tolgay ARSLAN, 11. Leo NATEL, 16. Aziz BEHICH, 17. Terry ANTONIS, 18. Jordon HALL, 21. Alessandro LOPANE, 22. Curtis GOOD, 25. Callum TALBOT, 26. Samuel SOUPRAYEN, 33. Patrick BEACH (GK), 37. Max CAPUTO, 39. Emin DURAKOVIC, 44. Marin JAKOLIS, 46. Ben MAZZEO

Ins: 2. Scott GALLOWAY (returns from illness), 11. Leo NATEL (returns from illness), 39. Emin DURAKOVIC (promoted).

Outs: 38. Harry POLITIDIS (illness).

Unavailable: 4. Nuno REIS (quad), 15. Andrew NABBOUT (achilles), 34. Arion SULEMANI (ACL), 35. Zane SCHREIBER (knee), 38. Harry POLITIDIS (illness), 40. James NIEUWENHUIZEN (hamstring)

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