On the back of Newcastle Jets’ 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory last weekend defender Daniel Mullen has declared the team will be “expecting to win” against Victory’s cross-town rivals Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Friday night.
Buoyed by taking three points from both Victory and Wellington Phoenix in the first three rounds, Mullen says their record against the league’s attacking powerhouses gives the squad all the confidence it needs to do the same against City.
“We’re a hard team to break down and teams can’t get through us easily,” Mullen said.
“I think Victory, Sydney and Wellington set the benchmark for attacking play in the [Hyundai] A-League.
“We’ve faced all three of them now and only conceded two goals and we had a clean sheet last week.”
“So we’re going to take a lot of confidence from the that,” he said.
While Mullen says the team will enter the match with all the confidence they need, he concedes City provide a different challenge, particularly with midfielder Aaron Mooy in top form.
The Socceroo has be instrumental in City’s opening three games and his free kick prowess put the ball on platter for Patrick Kisnorbo to head home the City’s first goal in their 3-1 win over Central Coast Mariners last Sunday.
“Melbourne City provide something a little bit different,” Mullen acknowledged. “You’ve got Aaron Mooy in the middle of the park who’s very creative.”
“You could see in the game [against Mariners] there where a couple of free kicks where you thought he wasn’t’ going to shoot and he did, and it took a good save from the goalkeeper to keep him out.
“When he’s got time on the ball he’s effective but if we put his head down and put pressure on him we can turn the ball over.
“So we’ve got to keep it compact and get players around him to make it difficult for him to play.”
Even though the former Adelaide United defender notes that stopping Mooy may be the key to getting a result against City, he says their squad is still dangerous all over the park.
“They’ve got a lot of quality everywhere else on the park so we can’t just focus on one player,” Mullen said.
“We’ve got to treat them a with a lot of respect as a team and come out and play the same way that we have been.
“You can see they’ve got some quality players in the squad but we’re still going there expecting to win.”Melbourne City vs. Newcastle Jets – Hyundai A-League 2015/16 Round 4
Date: Friday 30 October 2015
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
TV: Live on FOX SPORTS 505, live on SBS TWO
Radio: Live on ABC Grandstand, 1233 ABC Newcastle, Crocmedia