Vidmar eyes stable offseason amid City return talks

Melbourne City interim boss Aurelio Vidmar has confirmed talks are underway to seal a return as permanent coach next season, with limited squad turnover planned after their elimination final loss to 10-man Melbourne Victory on penalties.

Despite outshooting their opponent 30 to 16 and playing 81 minutes with a one-player advantage after Zinedine Machach's red card, City was unable to put Victory away throughout Sunday evening's elimination final, shipping an 88th-minute equaliser to Nishan Velupillay before falling to a Paul Izzo-inspired Victory in the shootout.

Network Ten reported pre-game that Vidmar had signed a two-year contract extension to return to City and while he wouldn't confirm that a deal was in place post-game, he did acknowledge talks were underway intending to seal his return.

"That's the plan," said Vidmar.  "We've had discussions and everything seems to be going fine at this point in time. Hopefully, a decision will be made pretty soon."

Vidmar was appointed as interim coach at City following the sacking of Rado Vidosic just two weeks into 2023-24; Vidosic paying the price for a slow start to the campaign after an offseason in which the side lost eight first-team players and 13 overall.

With City now to miss the grand final for the first time since the 2018-19 season – also the last time they lost an elimination final – Vidmar said that that level of upheaval would be avoided in the coming months.

"[There won't be] a hell of a lot [of changes]," he said. "Certainly there will be a few but I think the turnover last season -- [13] players total -- is way too much, for whatever reason that did happen. I'd imagine a much smaller turnover in the offseason."

Two players that will be elsewhere next season are skipper Jamie Maclaren and veteran defender Curtis Good, City already announcing midweek that its record goalscorer and appearance leader would be departing.

Both players have signalled an intention to move abroad, with Maclaren declaring on Friday that he would wait until the end of City's season to make the final call on his destination.

"They've given this club a hell of a lot of service, excellent service," said Vidmar.

"It's a pity because I thought we could have gone a little bit further than we did tonight. Unfortunately, they bow out in not the greatest of circumstances.

"But unfortunately that's the game, there's absolutely zero sentiment in the game."