Mental toughness on Mombaerts’ mind

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Melbourne City head coach Erick Mombaerts says a lack of mental toughness may be behind the team’s late defensive lapses in recent weeks.

Heading into Friday’s match against the Western Sydney Wanderers, City had given up late goals in each of their last three matches.

This included last week’s capitulation against Brisbane Roar, where they surrendered a 3-1 lead in the final 30 minutes of the game, which handed City their first loss of the season.

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“Sometimes it starts with a lack of mental strength,” Mombaerts said.

“But it also continues with tactical mistakes.

“In my position, I need to find solutions to help the players to be stronger mentally individually and collectively.

“It’s easy to say, it’s easy to ask, but it’s not easy to do.”

On Friday night, City almost squandered victory again, conceding a goal in the 80th minute which saw the Wanderers draw level two-all.

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However, City was able to respond in stoppage time with Jamie Maclaren scoring the equalising goal that restored their lead.

Mombaerts believes their offensive style, which has seen them score a competition high 16 goals in seven games, may have lead to an imbalance.

“We need to find more balance between the offensive and defensive style,” he said.

“We have worked a lot to develop our offensive style; maybe it’s normal to be in this phase now, but I’m sure we can improve our defensive style also.

“I trust in our team, we can do better.”

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City has conceded 11 goals this season, which despite playing more games than all other teams, is the most of any club this season.

Mombaerts’ midweek hope that the frustration of squandering a two-goal lead against Brisbane would strengthen the team’s resolve moving forward appeared true, as City were able to overcome a late Wanderers’ goal and respond with one of their own.

“We were all frustrated after the Brisbane game,” he said

“Sometimes frustration is a good help if we can use this frustration to be more concentrated, to be better mentally, to be strong.

“But I’m sure for the next game we will be stronger than we were in Brisbane.”

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The win was Melbourne’s first-ever in Parramatta. It also snapped the Wanderers three-game undefeated streak at home this year.

The trip to Sydney was City’s second interstate game in just five days. This comes after starting the season with five straight games in Victoria.

They will enter their round seven bye with a 5-1-1 record, on top of the ladder, with a newfound belief that they can overcome late game lapses.

Feature Image Credit: Melbourne City

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Michael Patane
Michael Patane
Student at Monash University and lover of all things football covering Melbourne City in 2019/20.

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