Melbourne City coach Rado Vidosic says his team need to stop Perth Glory’s playmakers from getting the ball to Sam Kerr and Rachel Hill on Sunday.
City find themselves eighth on the table with two losses and one win heading into their Round 4 clash against Perth Glory.
Full-back teenager Chelsea Blissett has returned from suspension, while Elise Kellond-Knight will return to her traditional midfield position, after starting in an unfamiliar centre-back role last week.
Defender Rebekah Stott is still away with the New Zealand national team, but Vidosic said that the players need to stick to their game plan if they are to stop Sam Kerr and Rachel Hill.
Perth are third on the table and Kerr has scored two goals from two games. Vidosic jokingly said his plan to deal with striker was to “kick her as hard as we can”, but the City boss praised her qualities and admitted his team needed to stop the service to the Matilda.
“Both Kerr and Rachel Hill are fabulous players, they’re very direct and play the kind of game where they try to win the second balls and the first pass is over the top or behind opponents,” Vidosic said this morning.
“They’re making very smart, intelligent runs and once they get the chance to shoot, they’re very good with that. It’s going to be a tough game and we’re still missing Rebekah, so that goes a bit against us.
“We’ll try to defend as high as possible and try to make it as difficult as possible. We’ll try to control the game from an attacking point of view and limit the amount of times Perth has got the ball. If we can do that, we will limit the opportunities they’ll create for Sam and Rachel.
“I know it’s very hard if someone is faster than you and it’s a foot race. If we apply good pressure earlier and higher up the pitch, that pass might not be as controlled. They also need to learn that if there’s no pressure on the ball, we need to drop off, so we minimise the space behind us.
“Goalkeeper Lydia Williams will also have a crucial job because they’re going to play those balls over the top, they’re always coming towards Lydia and she can easily collect those balls and start our attack from there.”
Vidosic is happy with the way his team has performed this season and is unfazed about the pressure to get the ball rolling now.
The Melburnians found themselves depleted with a total of six key players missing before their opener against Canberra United.
Teenagers Nia Stamatopoulos, Blissett, Janna Lawson and Aimee Medwin have been used as a result.
Kyah Simon is a chance to return from an achilles injury on Sunday but it could still be two to three weeks before Steph Catley recovers from a knee problem.
While Vidosic admitted the circumstances had put them at a disadvantage, he was upbeat about his team this season, adding that the youngsters have done well.
“We won a hard game against Sydney FC and we created a lot of clear-cut chances against Canberra United that we didn’t convert,” he said.
“We created a beautiful chance with Yukari Kinga against Melbourne Victory. If we scored those goals, we would be on a different amount of points.
“We are lacking a little bit of cutting edge up front, but once these experienced girls come in, I’m sure they’ll provide what we’re lacking.
“Maybe the young players will get a little bit less game time, but they’ll get more experience during training sessions. Suddenly, Blissett may have to mark Kyah and that’s a very good job for her to learn that and practice against world class players, so she can only benefit from it.
“At the moment, maybe they’ve been exposed to W-League too early, but from another point of view, it was a great experience for them, so they were exposed to the games and now they’re going to be more exposed to training sessions working alongside quality players.”