Maclaren’s call to arms after drawing ‘line in the sand’ in City’s season

Melbourne City captain Jamie Maclaren spoke to the press ahead of their huge game with Sydney FC on Friday night at 7.45pm AEDT at AAMI Park.

Melbourne City captain Jamie Maclaren has called for his teammates to draw a “line in the sand” after a difficult start to the season that sees them bottom of the Isuzu UTE A-League ladder after two games.

As a result of their poor start City parted ways with senior men’s head coach Rado Vidosic this week, following a 6-0 hammering against Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium.

It means City have now conceded six goals in two of their last three A-Leagues games, including a 6-1 defeat at the hands of Central Coast Mariners in the 2023 Grand Final.

The reigning premiers have since appointed Aurelio Vidmar as their new head coach for the remainder of the season, starting with this Friday’s clash with fellow strugglers Sydney FC at AAMI Park.

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“We’ve had a good meeting yesterday and we are going to draw a line in the sand and just really push now,” Maclaren said on Thursday.

“Especially the new boys, getting around them and making sure they feel comfortable because the next few weeks are going to be uncomfortable.

“We’re going through some testing times and I’m going to make sure that we focus on winning games, and that’s going to be the set standard for anyone that joins this club and wears the Melbourne City jersey.

“Anything short of that is unacceptable.”


The all-time leading A-Leagues goalscorer admitted this has been a “tough week” for the group, after finding out about Vidosic’s dismissal, but batted away suggestions he had lost the dressing room.

“It was more of a case that I understand how football clubs work when things aren’t going your way.” he said.

“The coach is the one that falls first and, who knows, players might fall after that, but we’ve still got a long way to go before that scene, so we move on and we have to start thinking positively but also know that we’re in a position that needs to change.”


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Maclaren, however, was adamant they can’t dwell in the past as they effectively – in his words – start a brand new season on Friday night.

“I found out as the captain… late Tuesday. It’s never a nice feeling, but, when I did speak to Rado, he thanked me for the support but also as players, we thank him – we’ve got to remember we won a trophy,” he said.

“But this is football, we understand that coaches do depart before players, that’s what happens if bad results do occur, but we have to move on now.

“It’s so early on in the season that there’s no time to dwell, the club has acted swiftly and as players we hold a lot of responsibility for what’s just happened.

“We know we’ve obviously let Rado down in many ways but we need to move on, we need to act better on the pitch (and lift) our standards off the pitch because I’ve been at this club long enough to know that the standards have been well below.

“It’s a duty of mine also with a lot of other leaders in the group to lift us back up with six points in our rears. I’m sure Aurelio’s probably mentioned that we talked about it when he had his first meeting, our season starts now.

“We’re so far off it that it’s now about seeing the character and if you want to have a silver lining… it’s let’s see what we’re about.”

Maclaren didn’t shy away from suggestions the squad has become “complacent” in the early stages of the season, saying the group had to look internally at their own performances after yet another heavy defeat.

“I think we’ve talked in many press conferences now that we’re such a new group and sometimes it might come to a shock of people, the standards that we set,” he said.

“This is a tough league. People might underestimate it, and if you do take it lightly, even in the slightest moments, you get punished.

“The Grand Final was probably a shock to the system, but it’s occurred again. And that’s where you start to think, ‘okay, well, we need to start looking at each other internally and start to fix things’.

“But we’ve talked as players, talk is cheap, it’s now time to action it. It’s sad to see what’s unfolded but I’m looking forward to working with Aurelio (Vidmar) again.

“I’ve done that in the past with the Olyroos and on the back end of Socceroos. So it’s time to roll the sleeves up and really fight because we haven’t been doing that.”


Vidmar arrives at City after 13 years away from the A-Leagues, but has a number of experiences coaching at the highest level both in Australia and abroad.

The reigning Golden Boot winner said the new boss had some strong views about where the club was at, believing they lacked unity across the park.

“He was an outsider effectively watching from the outside,” he said.

“He saw a group that wasn’t so connected, wasn’t fighting for each other and almost accepting and allowing moments that have just passed, in terms of conceding goals after goals and not really creating so much on the other side.

“He’s come in with a fresh set of eyes. He’s worked with a couple of the players in the group, but I know that there’s some players that he probably needs to speak to and get an understanding of.

“That’s mainly the foreigners who are new and whatever, but he’s been successful in the teams that he’s coached, especially in Asia and I’ve played with him under the Olyroos, we attacked and we scored goals and we didn’t concede too many.

“That’s going to be the main aim. We need to start from the back and just flow through, but it’s a small bump in the road because I know that this club’s too big, too proud.

“No one enjoys being defeated and I certainly don’t, and I’m hurting. I’ve been hurting since the Grand Final, but it’s up to myself and some of the other older experienced players to really turn around and show tomorrow night that we’re not going to be rolled over and let that happen again.”


Despite the poor start, Maclaren remains confident they can turn things around, harkening back to the 2020-21 season, where City turned around a poor start to win the Isuzu UTE A-League double.

“The year we won the double with PK (Kisnorbo), we actually had a rough start and I remember people were calling for PK’s head and, before you know it, we turned it around and won comfortably the Premier’s Plate with a few games in hand and we won the championship.

“We know it’s early in the piece and I think that’s probably why the club has acted so quickly that we know there’s a chance still to redeem and turn this around and whilst it is only six points, it’s still a long way in our eyes and there’s still two wins that you need to catch the rest or the ones that are sitting pretty at the top, but it starts tomorrow night.

“I’m sure, if you don’t see a reaction, I’m definitely sure you’ll see a reaction in the second half because there’ll be a bollocking from Viddy (Vidmar) because he’s come in with a stern line to us, which I’ll keep to ourselves and we’ll talk about it in months to come when hopefully things have changed.”