Fear factor did it for Melbourne City
Photo Source: AAP
Melbourne City's derby heroes have revealed the origins of their revved-up performance in Saturday night's A-League trouncing of Melbourne Victory.
It all began with a slip of the tongue from Victory skipper Carl Valeri.
The midfielder is one of the most respected players in the league after spending a decade in Italian football and winning an A-League championship with Victory in his first season back in Australia.
When he speaks, others listen.
So when he said City players would be feeling "a fear factor" when they arrived at Etihad Stadium for the match, City players stored it away.
Man of the match Luke Brattan and wonder-goal scorer Tim Cahill both said it was a huge motivator to go out and unleash their potential against the league heavyweights.
"In big games like this, it's expected there will be a bit of banter in the press during the week. I'll do it myself," Brattan told AAP.
"Someone from their camp said that we feared them during the week.
"We loved it. We used it as motivation but we stay humble and look forward."
Cahill reminded his teammates prior to kick-off of Valeri's words, published by the Herald Sun.
"They said we're going to fear (Victory) coming in here. I don't think we feared nothing," Cahill told Fox Sports.
Of course, while motivation is one thing - having the talent, fitness and strategy to pull off the win is another.
Brattan was one of the busiest men on the park, bustling between defence and attack to allow John van 't Schip's side to monster possession and starve Victory of opportunities.
The 26-year-old credited City's backroom staff for improving his conditioning after arriving less than game-fit.
The Manchester City player was loaned to Bolton Wanderers last season but didn't make a start for the club.
"I wasn't playing a lot, wasn't training regularly. (Last year) just was not a great year," he said.
"I didn't come back in great shape but the medical staff have got me in great shape now.
"I had a bit of a problem with my back but that's all sorted now too."