Melbourne City stronger despite losing Mooy

Melbourne City may have lost star midfielder Aaron Mooy, but Nick Fitzgerald said the club's new signings – headed by Australia superstar Tim Cahill - would make the team better overall this season.

Nick Fitzgerald

Source: AAP

“It’s hard to replace Aaron Mooy and I really don’t think you can replace him as such, he’s a one of a kind sort of player,” Fitzgerald told The World Game.

“But if you look at our squad I think we’re better as a whole this year.

“Luke Brattan has come in and Bruce Kamau adds pace on the wing and I think we’ll be a more well-rounded team this year. It’s not about losing one or two players, we just have to be better as a team this year than last year and I think we will be.”


Apart from midfield maestro Mooy, City lost several other players including Harry Novillo, Alex Wilkinson, Michael Zullo and the retired Patrick Kisnorbo.

But they have been hugely active in the player market, picking up Brattan, Kamau, Manny Muscat, Daniel Arzani, Ruon Tongyik, Fernando Brandan, Neil Kilkenny and, of course, Cahill. Plus, City have now also signed veteran former Central Coast defender Josh Rose.

It is obviously going to be interesting to see how City use Cahill, who could play just behind Fornaroli, but whatever the case it is going to be up to midfielders like Brattan, Anthony Caceres, Brandan and Kilkenny to help provide opportunities for the players ahead of them, which Mooy did expertly.

“We’ve got some great players who can fill that role,” winger Fitzgerald said. “For a start, ’Brattsy’ (Brattan) and Caceres are definitely those type of players who can create goals and also score goals, and there are others as well.

“I think we were very unlucky losing three players to injury at finals time last season, but we were still hard on ourselves and we probably thought we should’ve done better and that will make the boys hungry to push on.

“We’ve still got John van’t Schip as coach, who has instilled that attacking philosophy in the team, and whenever you watch Melbourne City you’re always entertained because we play that brand of football.

“It doesn’t matter if we go one or two behind, we stick to our structure and stick to our game plan and keep playing that brand of football and it usually comes off for us.”

Fitzgerald said recent confirmation that Fornaroli had re-signed, plus the big impact Kamau was making during the pre-season preparation, were two big positives that had lifted the playing group. Cahill is expected to have a huge positive impact as well, when he arrives to start training.

“Yeah, Bruno is a massive signing for the club, to have him here for another three years,” he said. “It’ll be great to keep playing off him and learning from him. He’s a great player but he’s also a great guy. The boys love having him around.

“Brucie has been great. You usually see when new players come into a squad it takes them a while to get used to playing with other players and they’re a bit off the pace, but Brucie has come in and he’s looked like he’s been at the club for years.

“Just looking around the squad, we’ve got tremendous depth this season with two or three players competing for every position and that’s we want in the team. You need good players fighting for positions to become a better team, so we’re really looking forward to this year to see how we go.

“I only arrived at the club midway through last season, so this is my first pre-season preparation at City and it’s a bit of a step up from what I’m used to, physically. I’m probably the fittest I’ve ever been, to be honest, and the boys are looking good, looking sharp.”

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4 min read
Published 12 August 2016 at 3:09pm
By Greg Prichard