May 04, 2015 09:03:01 UK
Melbourne City coach John van ‘t Schip says there’s no question rivals Melbourne Victory will be under the greater pressure when the clubs meet in Friday’s semi-final derby.
City secured their maiden finals win as they beat Wellington Phoenix 2-0 at Westpac Stadium thanks to second-half goals from Josh Kennedy and Harry Novillo.
It means they will face their neighbours at Etihad Stadium for a place in the Grand Final, which City are 9.00 to win.
Having masterminded a change of tactics that proved successful against the Phoenix, it seemed the Dutch coach was firing the first shot in a psychological war when he sought to claim the underdog tag going into the semi-final.
It’s only logical though, says van ‘t Schip, that Kevin Muscat will be feeling the burden more.
“The pressure is on them. It’s not because I want to put the pressure on them, that’s the truth,” said the City coach, who was also involved in the club’s previous finals campaign of 2011-12 when they played as Melbourne Heart.
He added of Victory: “They are the champions, they have had a great season and have had good growth in their performance. But this is a single game, it’s a final and we’ve shown in the past we can get into those games in a very good way.”
Just as Josep Gombau did after steering Adelaide United to victory in the first elimination final on Friday, van ‘t Schip reflected that playing in the first round was a help rather than a negative for his team.
“Even though it’s a short turnover I think in this case it’s not a disadvantage because we’re in the rhythm of playing and I think that can only be an advantage. The energy is good, we’re going to be up for it on Friday and it’s going to be a great game.”
Defender Kew Jaliens will be available for the semi-final after serving his one-game ban against the Phoenix.
City are 3.75 to beat Melbourne Victory, who are 1.95 with the draw 3.50.
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