City coach plays down Cup win over Sydney FC

Melbourne City coach Michael Valkanis is playing down his side’s Westfield FFA Cup final triumph over Sydney FC, as they welcome back the Sky Blues for tonight’s crucial clash at AAMI Park.

City claimed a famous 1-0 win in the Westfield FFA Cup final last November to become the first side this season to defeat the Sky Blues in all competitions. 

Just nine days later, the sides settled for a 1-1 draw in the league at ANZ Stadium, maintaining City’s unbeaten edge on Graham Arnold’s men.   

“Sydney’s a very good team but we can’t dwell on the past in winning a Cup final. That was a long time ago,” Valkanis told reporters on Thursday ahead of tonight’s Round 21 clash. 

“It was great winning that final. It was great bringing the first piece of silverware to the club but we’ve moved on from that now.

“We’ve got the next two months to try and win another piece of silverware, which is what we’ve got to focus on.

“This week’s game I think is completely different from that final. Different from the 1-1 draw in Sydney. 

“We’ll go into it focused. Pure motivation being the three points.”

Preview: Melbourne City v Sydney FC

Hyundai Ins & Outs – Round 21

Third-placed Melbourne City host league leaders Sydney FC to kick-off Round 21 on Friday night.

Valkanis confirmed Michael Jakobsen would remain sidelined for another week but does have Ivan Franjcic available for the selection following a knee injury.

Nick Fitzgerald and Anthony Caceres are favoured to retain their places in the starting line-up after starting in Wellington but the City boss was coy on the role marquee striker Tim Cahill would play.

“It’s a big game and Timmy is a big game player. He’s in the squad, he’s involved and I’m sure he’ll play his part in this game,” said Valkanis.

“He’s not necessarily used only as an impact player. I think there’ll be games and maybe tomorrow where he’ll be used from the start.

“Because it is a big game and he’s got a wealth of experience and maybe we’ll have a different set-up.”

Tim Cahill

While City may well adopt a different formation to try cope with Sydney’s high press and attacking threats Valkanis didn’t shy away from the fact his side would look to dominate the league leaders.

“We’re playing at home. We’ll always look to dominate the game and us be the owners of the games and be the dictators of the game in how it’s going to be played out.”

Sydney, who were beaten in the league for the first time last week, remain eight points clear at the top of the league with seven rounds left. 

City, for their part, are third in the league nine points behind Victory in second and on equal points with Brisbane Roar in fourth. 

City meet Sydney FC meet again on April 1 in the Harbour City in Round 25.