Paartalu: Victory just a better side than us

Melbourne City midfielder Erik Paartalu believes his team have a lot of work to do in the off-season to catch up with local rivals Melbourne Victory.

This year’s Premier’s Plate winners defeated City 3-0 at Etihad Stadium on Friday to book their place in the A-League grand final.

Goals from Archie Thompson, Besart Berisha and Kosta Barbarouses were enough to seal the win for Victory, who face Sydney FC in the decider.

Paartalu told FourFourTwo Kevin Muscat’s team have the quality to take out the grand final.

“It was a disappointing way to end the season but in all honesty Victory are just a better side than us,” he admitted.

“It’s difficult to pick a winner in the grand final isn’t it – hard to go past the team at home though. Both clubs have good players and it will be probably decided on a moment of brilliance or lapse in concentration.

“Victory 1-0 in extra-time.”

City had their chances against Victory with 17 shots to Victory’s 14, seven corners to five, 26 crosses to 18, and just edging possession with 51.2% of the ball. But they could not put the ball in the back of the net.

The side also lost Aaron Mooy, Harry Novillo and David Williams to injury during the match.

“Guess we will find out tomorrow with the injuries, I think all the injured lads had scans,” Paartalu said.

The 29-year-old will have his first break for over a year after returning to the A-League in September from Thai club Muangthong United and a stint with Chinese side Tianjin Teda.

“I’ve been going for 16/17 months now without a break so it’s going to be nice to have a weekend off,” he said.

Paartalu admitted it is hard to pinpoint exactly where City need to improve for next season.

“We have work to do in the pre-season that’s for sure,” he said.