City out to make amends for big-game flops

Anna Harrington
Melbourne City coach Erick Mombaerts expects more intensity from his team against Western United

Melbourne City coach Erick Mombaerts expects an improved intensity as his team looks to snap a two-game A-League losing run when they face Western United on Friday night.

City are under the pump after flopping in consecutive games against Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC, while United are in recovery mode after a 3-1 home loss to Wellington Phoenix.

Mombaerts emphasised the need for his side to convert chances, plus also be more intense and aggressive in the top-four clash.

"We respect Western United a lot. It's a good team with an lot of experienced players. But it's more interesting for us to concentrate on what we want to set up on the field," Mombaerts said on Thursday.

"So we focus on this and I expect we can play intense - I hope it will be not too hot so I expect a good, intense game."

Skipper Scott Jamieson is poised to return after missing the Sydney clash with a virus, while midfielder Rostyn Griffiths (ankle) is touch-and-go.

City will be without Olyroos Connor Metcalfe, Tom Glover, Denis Genreau and Ramy Najjrine.

Western United marquee Panagiotis Kone, who is hoping to return from a hamstring injury, said it was important for his side to remain switched on after some costly mistakes against the Phoenix.

The A-League newcomers are fourth but could overtake both third-placed Perth and second-placed City with a win.

Despite City's back-to-back losses, Kone said he believed they were one of the league's strongest teams.

"It's a very good team, it will be a tough game tomorrow."

STATS THAT MATTER

* Western United have lost just one of their past five A-League away matches (W3, D1), keeping a first-half clean sheet in four of the matches in that span.

* Melbourne City have lost their past two A-League matches - the last time they endured more consecutive defeats was a span of three in February-March 2018.

* Alessandro Diamanti (Western United) has played the most passes into the box (132) of any player this A-League season, 57 more than Melbourne City's best (Craig Noone - 75).

Stats provided by Opta