Expectations sky-high at City
Photo Source: AAP
Melbourne City have turned the expectation dial up to 11 on the eve of the A-League season, declaring the time right for a breakthrough success.
City are embracing their position as one of the favourites to win the league, which kicks off on Friday, after making good use of the embarrassment of riches at their disposal.
John van 't Schip has brought in nine players with international or title-winning experience, headed by Socceroos legend Tim Cahill.
It prompted a bold declaration by club vice-chairman Simon Pearce at the club's season launch on Tuesday night in Melbourne.
The influential Sydney-based executive said he "knows rather than believes success will come" to the club, who recorded their best finish - fourth - to an A-League season last year.
Pearce praised the coaching set-up and infrastructure on his visit to Australia, saying City had become "a world class football club".
It's the club's seventh season in the league but year three under the ownership of the mega-moneyed City Football Group.
In the past two years, City's W-League team claimed an emphatic title with a perfect season and the National Youth League side won their 2015 competition.
Given the investment, the club's hierarchy feel the time for a return is now and van 't Schip agrees.
The Dutchman said anything short of the club's first piece of silverware for the senior men's side would be a disappointment.
"We've been making good progression but still in that progression we missed trophies. This club is now ready," he told AAP.
"We have the team to achieve that. In saying that, it's about hard work."
City are two wins away from the 2016 FFA Cup, having drawn cross-town rivals Melbourne Victory in the semi-final of the competition, and van 't Schip is eyeing it off.
"The first one we can do that is the FFA Cup and we more than understand - it's important to the players, its important to the fans, it's important to win silverware this year," he said.
Of course, with expectation comes pressure.
Van 't Schip, in the final year of a contract with the club, suggested he knew the ramifications of falling short of the club's lofty aims.
"I understand how things work," he said.
"We've reached some goals in the way of how we're playing. Last year, we had very good games, very entertaining.
"We also knew we were vulnerable in the way we defended as a team.
"The players that we've brought in, I'm confident we will be there until the end."