Melbourne City coach Michael Valkanis.
Melbourne City coach Michael Valkanis. JULIAN SMITH

Melbourne City coach has plenty to work on

FOOTBALL: Melbourne City coach Michael Valkanis said there was plenty to work on for his team as it looked to close the gap on the top two in the A-League.

Valkanis will take charge of his first game in charge at the club after being handed the permanent coaching reins until the end of this season.

The former Adelaide United defender was the interim boss after John van't Schip quit his post two weeks ago to care for his ill father, who subsequently died.

He was confirmed as the coach for the rest of this season and said yesterday his team must concentrate on upping its game starting with a clash against Newcastle Jets in Coffs Harbour tonight.

"We have been working a lot on our front third," Valkanis said.

"On things like our last pass and our runs into the box and our build up within that zone. We continue to work on our defensive game as well, that's something we need to improve as well.

"The team has been playing really well and they have been playing good football and creating lots of chances and if there is one thing we have to fix, that's capitalising on the chances and all the box entries that we have had.

"That's going to come, we've really focused on that as well and every player is working hard.

"The ones on the outer are putting pressure on those in the eleven and everyone is really looking to get that opportunity to play."

Newcastle Jets have been on the improve in recent games and despite a loss to Western Sydney Wanderers last week, Valkanis said his team must not take tonight's opponents lightly.

"It's going to be a tough game but like I said before, you have to respect every team in the A-League, every opponent is difficult and there is no easy game," he said.

"We don't look at the ladder, we look at the opponent and focus on what we can do better for that game and our own game to get the three points."

Valkanis said nothing had changed in the approach to his job even after being given the City coaching role full-time.

"I love what I do, I'm very lucky to do what I do and to do what I love doing. I'm very passionate about what I do and nothing changes," he said.

"I'll be coming in here every morning working very hard, be the last to leave and prepare the team as bet as possible on and off the park to be ready for every game.

"We'll keep working hard, keep aligning ourselves with the goals we have set from the beginning of the season and we continue on with the job."

Melbourne City v Newcastle Jets at Coffs International Stadium, tonight 6.50pm (AEST)

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