Secure in the knowledge that Melbourne Victory are heavy favourites, John van 't Schip wants his Melbourne City FC players to enjoy their Hyundai A-League semi-final on Friday night, stressing that the pressure is on Victory.
City surprised Wellington Phoenix 2-0 away from home in the elimination finals last Sunday, booking a huge derby showdown against their local rivals with a place in the Grand Final the prize on offer.
Now they have another upset in their sights, with Van 't Schip encouraging his side to seize the opportunity.
"The message is clear – to enjoy this great game, big game, the boys are up to it," he said.
"We are prepared to play another game and that's the Grand Final. To do that you have to win. It's not going to be an easy task but it's going to be a great challenge.
"The pressure is more on Victory. We should really go out there and give them a hard time.
"We've showed in the past several times that we can play good games against Victory … it's a finals game so it's going to be even bigger. We are ready, the boys are fit and focused.
"Enjoy the game and go for it and give all the best you have. That's the message."
City took a safety-first approach to their final in New Zealand last weekend, keeping it tight at the back before catching Phoenix out twice in the space of nine second-half minutes.
They chose to press Victory aggressively in three derby meetings during the regular season, winning once but losing twice heavily, leaving Van 't Schip likely to stick with a more defensive approach in this clash.
"Every game is different, but why should you change things if they're good? I don't see any reason to change [the] system … in a game, your game plan, you can change different kind of things within the system, so we will have a look to see what we can improve," he said.
The Dutchman also rejected suggestions City's players may struggle to reach their potential in this game after already defying expectations to reach the last four.
"We're professional players, we want to achieve the highest (finish we can). We have enough players in the team that know what that means and in the coaching staff that know what that means."comments