JVS cool on City Premiership talk after Phoenix win

Melbourne City coach John van ‘t Schip is playing down talk of a Premiership after his City eased past Wellington Phoenix on Monday night.

City beat Phoenix 3-0 on Easter Monday to move equal top with Roar with two games to go.

MATCH REPORT: Fornaroli smashes a brace as City go top

But the experienced van’ t Schip wasn’t buying into the hype and pointed to the very tricky trip to Perth next week.

“We’ll know after the last game. It’s still close. We’re equal points with Brisbane and Perth away and home to Adelaide, so they’re two big games [to come],” he told reporters.

City’s coach paid tribute to his side’s discipline in the win over Wellington, a point he stressed had been part of a longer-term goal. 

“We played a very disciplined game. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy because Aaron [Mooy] and Alex [Wilkinson] weren’t there. So we had to put in two other players.

“And secondly Wellington is a dangerous outsider in the sense they can play freely enough and have enough good football players to create difficulties.”

Harry Novillo and Bruno Fornaroli celebrate combining to score City's opening goal against the Phoenix.

Another clean sheet pleased the coach after much hard work in training over recent months to tighten up at the back.

“We talked about it a long time,” he said of the side’s defensive structures.

“Because we knew we were copping too many goals and we were open [and] very entertaining but we also knew that if we wanted to achieve more and make a bigger step, then we had to fix that. 

“Credit to the boys, they took it on board and we’ve worked on it every single training [session] and it’s now working out on the pitch in the games.

“And that’s what you want and the players start believing in what we’re working on.”

Melbourne City coach John van't Schip gives instructions on the training ground.

In injury news, Osama Malik left the pitch early in the second half after moving gingerly, with van ‘t Schip saying the defender had been battling a back injury in the lead up.

“It worsened at the end of the first half and start of the second half,” he said of the injury. 

“But we have depth so we didn’t want to take any risks.”