April 28, 2015 10:25:28 UK
Robert Koren admits Melbourne City have to pick themselves up off the floor as they prepare for Sunday’s A-League elimination final against Wellington Phoenix.
John van ‘t Schip’s side go into the finals on the back of a poor run of results, having picked up just two points out of a possible 12 in April.
We still think and believe that we can go another step this season.
City have managed just three goals in that time and ended the regular season with back-to-back losses away to Perth Glory and Adelaide United where they shipped a combined seven goals.
The fact that the club knew the pressure was off in their final two games, as Perth had been banned from the finals, may have contributed to their failures.
Now, though, facing Phoenix at Westpac Stadium, they have to come up with a victory or their season is over.
They will also have to do without defender Kew Jaliens for the trip to Wellington, with the Match Review Panel confirming the right-back’s one-game suspension for being sent off in Adelaide at the weekend.
Koren said: “The results lately didn’t help us mentally, so we are a bit down. But we now have this week to prepare ourselves.
“We still think and believe that we can go another step this season. Everything is still in our hands; it will be difficult because we are playing away, but we will prepare well.”
It is just the club’s second appearance in the finals – they lost their only previous play-off game 3-0 to Perth Glory in 2011 in what was van ‘t Schip’s final game in charge first time around.
City have drawn 0-0 twice against Wellington in their past two meetings, after being thrashed 5-1 by Ernie Merrick’s side at Westpac Stadium in November.
Koren said the club could be proud of what they had achieved in his first season in the A-League, especially as they had finished last in 2013-14.
“We know how the club finished last season, so to reach the play-offs is a big achievement for everybody who is involved,” he said. “It’s definitely positive and something to build on for next season.”
City are 3.30 to beat the Phoenix in normal time, with Wellington 2.10 and the draw 3.50.
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