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'Be ruthless or be outscored': Three things we learned - Melbourne Derby

In a blight on our 2022/23 season record, Melbourne City went down 3-2 to Melbourne Victory, as Mathew Leckie's heroics weren't enough to drag us over the line.

It was a game that showed how demanding our style of play can be, and the high-standard to which we must hold ourselves if we want to come out on top.

Let's skip over reliving the action and dive straight into the lessons learned:

Inherent risk

The manner in which we lost the derby isn't particularly new to City fans.

Dominate possession, ponderously pass around the opposition's box, concede on the counter. This is a bug in our system, but it is a calculated loss.

I'm not breaking news to anyone by stating that we play a high-risk, high-reward style of game. Our defence will be breached - that's a fact of life, and it's one we're willing to accept given the results (at least most of the time) and we'll just have to rely on the excellent tackling skills of our back four and Tommy Glover's shot-stopping ability which was second to none last night.

This doesn't mean we just accept the result; several players underperformed, and we were too often pensive in possession when we should've taken advantage of our momentum. What is vital when playing this system is that we make the best of the good positions that we work ourselves into, and that we take the chances we create.

We must be ruthless or we will be outscored.

The highs and lows of Rado-ball - Photo: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

Foot on the throat

If we're going to play this attack-heavy style then we need to make the most of our opportunity or risk opposition teams outscoring us through counter-attacks alone.

The first half brought out a lot of frustration from the away end as our players refused to take on open shots at goal, always favouring a pass to teammate, even if it gained no ground and killed all momentum.

Once we were trailing in the second half, we finally shirked our trigger-shy nature and began shooting at will, but ALM fans know it best to never trail a team led by Popovic. Victory players' bodies were flying in left, right and centre, resulting in seven of our 19 shots blocked.

On another night we might've won, but we're too good of a team to be leaving things up to luck, and we can't accept a high shot count with low return.

The unstoppable Leckie - Photo: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

Still top of the league

As we lick our wounds it may be some consolation to remember that we are still top of the league by a good margin, and double Victory's points.

It was only our second defeat of the season, during which we conceded some scrappy goals: a headed corner, a followed-up effort from a saved shot, and a deflected shot that resulted from a throw-in we believed to be our own.

In the scheme of things this will be a Derby we forget, but a season we potentially remember as a title-winning one.

The goals are still coming, and we're still top of the league.

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