His side may be mired in a three-game losing run, but Melbourne City coach Patrick Kisnorbo says he’s not going to allow external narratives cloud what he and his side are seeking to accomplish ahead of their trip to Western Sydney Wanderers.
Ninth on the A-League table after their opening six games, and it’s fair to say things haven’t gone to plan for City so far in 2020-21. Having retained the core of their squad that reached the the 2019-20 Grand Final and adding talent such as Andrew Nabbout, Aiden O’Neill and Marco Tilio, Kisnorbo’s side was widely flagged as genuine title contenders entering the campaign.
But the boys from Bundoora (at least until the move to Casey is complete) have thus far found the going significantly more difficult than the zeitgeist predicted; winning just two of their opening half dozen games compared to four losses.
However, speaking to media ahead of his side’s final training session before they jetted out to face the Wanderers on Saturday evening (COVID-19 restrictions allowing), Kisnorbo stressed that external expectations and those of an internal variety were two different things.
Instead, the first-year coach emphasised that scorelines, especially early in the season, were only one part of a broader picture that needed to be examined when it came to his group’s performances.
“I can’t control the results,” Kisnorbo said. “What I can control is the way we go out there and put our processes in and play and keep doing what we’re doing.
“Sometimes the ball goes in the net and sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s not like we’ve been outplayed [in 2020-21] – or we’ve been out beaten. The chances we’ve created, sometimes they go in and sometimes they don’t.
“I think the positive thing is that at least we’re in those areas to create those chances to score. So, that’s the way that I look at it. [Others] might think of something different but if we weren’t creating chances and we weren’t in areas to score or win the game maybe the conversation would be different.
“But it’s not, the reality is that we’ve been in great situations and win games and we haven’t. So, we keep going and keep trying to improve.
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“I understand [external expectations] and they can look at just the results, and that’s fine, that’s their decision but it’s much more than that. We keep fighting hard and we keep keeping our processes clear and doing what we’re doing and we go out there on the pitch and try to perform.”
The going isn’t set to get any easier for Kisnorbo and his side on Saturday evening, coming up against a Western Sydney Wanderers unit that, under new coach Carl Robinson, has lost just a single game in their opening seven contests.
Third on the A-League table with three wins and three draws, Wanderers downed Melbourne Victory 2-0 on Wednesday evening, stretching their unbeaten run to six – their only loss this season against Macarthur FC in their opening game.
City, conversely, will be seeking to avoid a fourth straight loss when they step out onto Bankwest Stadium – something the club last did when they were going by the name Melbourne Heart – after recording back-to-back-to-back defeats against Perth Glory, Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets.
“It comes down to decision making at that particular time,” said Kisnorbo. “We work on a lot of things and we try to do repetition as much as we can so that if we’re in scenarios that the players are comfortable with what is in front of them.
“We want to be warriors but at the end of the day, sometimes people are human. Players are human, players make mistakes, players don’t mean to miss, they don’t mean to get sent off.
“But, it happens. All we can do is keep the confidence of the group up and keep going because that’s the business that we’re in.
“If someone makes a mistake in our industry, just because it’s viewed by people all around Australia, doesn’t mean that nobody else makes mistakes but ours are more identified and they think they have the right to comment about ‘he missed this chance’ but I’m sure people make mistakes in their job but it’s not magnified as much.
“I understand that players sometimes make mistakes, they don’t take their chance, they don’t score, but they don’t mean to. They’re going to keep trying and that’s what we’re here for. To give them confidence and keep doing that.”
In more promising news for Kisnorbo, 2018 World Cup Socceroo Nabbout and Rostyn Griffiths have returned to training ahead of their side’s Sydney trip, while newly signed Portuguese defender Nuno Reis has backed up well from his emergency start against the Jets.
“[Nabbout and Griffiths are] in contention to be in the squad,” the City coach said. “We’ve got one more training on Friday but they’re in contention. It’s good to start getting some players back that we’ve missed for a while now. We’re excited to have them back in the squad training with us.
“We got put in a situation where we had to bring [Reis] in as quickly as possible because of a red card. He’s trained once with us, once or twice with the youth team after having 14 days quarantine and then played 90 minutes.
“So my respect to him because that would have been hard but he integrated with the group really well and I thought he did really well on the weekend.”
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