Mombaerts’ happy to win the ugly way

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Melbourne City coach Erick Mombaerts says he is proud of his team’s 2-0 victory over the Newcastle Jets despite the scrappy nature of the contest.

Thus far this season City have wowed the competition with their flamboyant, dazzling play, but have struggled to come out on top come crunch time.

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However, against the Jets they were forced into a dogfight and made to grind out a win.

“It’s very good to fight and win,” Mombaerts said.

“Before the game, I expected we will have a tough game because this team has nothing to lose.

“We have to struggle to win, it’s good.”

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The win comes at a time when City has been struggling for consistency, having not strung together consecutive wins since rounds four and five.

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It also marked their first clean sheet since round 10, which was a focus for the team coming into the game.

“We had a collective goal to protect our goal,” Mombaerts said.

“We’ve conceded too many goals and we have to correct this, so that’s why for our team it’s very important.

“Today they are happy to win, but they are also happy to make a clean sheet.”

However, the win has to be put into the context. The Jets sit at the bottom of the A-League ladder and are fresh of a mid-season coach sacking.

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The ugly nature of City’s win could actually raise more questions then it answers about their championship credentials.

This will be made clear in the coming weeks as they turn their attention towards correcting another ongoing issue they faced this season: their performance in big games.

City have gone down in their two most hyped fixtures of the season, the Christmas Derby against Melbourne Victory and the top of the table clash against Sydney FC.

Throw in a disappointing 4-0 loss in the FFA Cup Final against Adelaide United and City have had a track record of coming up small in the biggest moments this season.

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Next week they play host to the red-hot third-placed Perth Glory, who already thumped them once this season at AAMI Park 3-0.

Here all the gains City made grinding out a win against Newcastle will be tested.

Their capacity to concentrate for 90 minutes will be examined, their willingness to win ugly will come under the microscope and their ability to stand up on the big stage will be challenged.

If they fail to come away with a win, it will be back to square one for Mombaerts’ men.

Feature Image Credit: Melbourne City FC

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