City urged to work on mental resilience before Wanderers clash


But their defeat in Brisbane on Sunday afternoon, when a Jamie Maclaren hat-trick had propelled them to a two goal advantage, may be harder to come back from.

Strike force: Jamie Maclaren was on target again for Melbourne City, firing in a treble against Brisbane Roar.Credit:Getty Image

On the road against a side that had not won a game all season, City had taken a 2-0 lead, then a 3-1 advantage before falling 4-3, with Roar’s Roy O’Donovan matching Maclaren’s hat-trick feat.

Rubbing salt into the wound was the fact that two of Brisbane’s goals came from the penalty spot, including one controversial VAR decision to award a penalty when Denis Genreau was judged to have infringed as he raised his hands to protect his face from a ball struck at him from close range.

Mombaerts isn’t getting into the blame game with officials over that decision.

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“I can’t say nothing about this, there is a referee, I have to respect, there is no problem,” he said diplomatically.

But he has called on his players to show equal reserves of mental strength, to that which they showed in Geelong against Western United , for Friday night’s game. And he wants them to be better equipped in future to play against the more direct brand of football, which Robbie Fowler’s Roar adopted in their second half comeback in particular.

“They play long ball, direct ball and we struggled on this kind of game,” Mombaerts admitted, despite that in Delbridge and Curtis Good he has two tall centre backs, one of whom, Delbridge, is quicker than the average defender, who has to deal with long balls over the top.

“We need to be stronger,” he continued.

Mombaerts is urging his team to also learn about game management and how to control a match once they have a two goal advantage.

“It is the first game we have to play like that and maybe it’s also a good experience. We have to understand and find solutions in this kind of game,” he said.

“I expect them to be better mentally to fight. It’s not about our style of play, about what we have done, it’s more mental, we have to fight sometime, we have to fight more.”

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