“I’m not perfect, never claimed to be…” – Kisnorbo keeping a singular focus ahead of A-League Men season

Melbourne City might have 11 targets painted on their back as the 2021-22 season prepares to commence, but Patrick Kisnorbo and his side don’t care to look back and check.

It being the opening week of the A-League Men competition, that inevitably means that the previews are coming thick and fast and, while there is a range of prognostications available across the depth and breadth of the Australian footballing zeitgeist, one prediction appears to be almost universally ascendent: City are the team to beat.

A year after storming to a premiership and championship double — the first pieces of league silverware in club history — the Citizens have reloaded ahead of the 2021-22 campaign; absorbing the loss of Craig Noone and Adrian Luna through the addition of Manuel Pucciarelli and Socceroos’ captain Mat Leckie.

Having dispatched Sydney FC in last year’s decider, the club appears well-placed to commence construction of their own dynasty at the head of Australian football.

Don’t, however, expect Kisnorbo to pay much heed to the external expectations being placed upon his side — the famously “process” orientated coach refusing to allow last year’s successes to alter his laser focus.

“The expectations [this season] is for our players are to train hard every day. That’s it,” he said.

“My expectations are for the players to train hard. I can’t control anything else, what people say, we don’t pay attention to that. We just concentrate day by day and leading into tomorrow’s game whatever happens at the end, happens.

“One thing as a coach is that you can’t control anything else besides what you do in training and the squad that you pick.

“I’m not perfect, never claimed to be, and I’ll make mistakes. But through those mistakes, I’ll try to learn as best as I can and try to be a better coach, manager and person as much as I can. I’m only young, so part of that role is I’ll make mistakes but I hopefully learn through us.”

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Nathaniel Atkinson is in the final year of his contract heading into 2021-22
Image Credit: Melbourne City

One of Kisnorbo’s breakout stars from last season, Nathaniel Atkinson is singing from a similar hymnbook as his gaffer when it comes to team success, even if he can’t obfuscate his own individual targets in the months ahead.

The Tasmanian returned from injury late last season to play a key role in his side’s form down the final stretch of the campaign and turned that momentum into an Olympics call-up and a standout performance against Argentina. In the last year of his contract and a member of recent stand-by lists for the Socceroos, the coming campaign looms as massive for the 22-year-old.

“We’re the reigning champions and everyone wants to hunt us, but [Kisnorbo] is trying to keep us in the mentality where we want to be the hunters still,” Atkinson said.

“We’ve had a feeling of winning and we want to do that again.

“The World Cup is coming up and that’s definitely my major motivation for this year, to play the best football I possibly can and get in the best situation to put my name forward.”

City will commence their, and the leagues’, 2021-21 season on Friday evening when they host coach Warren Moon’s Brisbane Roar at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.

Having left Socceroos camp ahead of their departure for the Middle East and subsequent 1-1 draw with China, Andrew Nabbout shapes as an all but certain starter for that game but questions linger over the availability of Jamie Maclaren and Leckie — who both flew into Melbourne overnight.

The former played just 20 minutes against China and his social media activity suggests he is eager to feature, but the latter started and played a significant in both fixtures.

“I know Andy is [right to start] because he left camp,” said Kisnorbo. “Macca and Lecks, we won’t know until they get in [to training] today. We’ll see how they pull up at training and after training. We’ll make a decision tomorrow.

“I still think we have to adapt a bit [this season]. It’s going to be a year that’s going to be a bit up and down, to be honest with you. You can see already that we’re getting our players back two days before the start.

“But we’re just happy to be at home in our first game to play some football.

“I think it’s great for the people of Melbourne, our supporters. Not just our supporters, but football lovers in general. It’s going to be a great occasion and we’re lucky enough to play at our home stadium. I think it’s just great for football to start in this country.”

Enjoying Joey’s coverage of Australian sport? Your support helps keep it possible.
You’re seeing this advert because this is an unpaid, self-published piece.

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Header Image Credit: Melbourne City

One thought on ““I’m not perfect, never claimed to be…” – Kisnorbo keeping a singular focus ahead of A-League Men season

  1. Pingback: “I do understand what people think of us” — Jamieson well aware of target(s) on his club’s back | JDL MEDIA

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