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Advantage City in derby war of words

AAP logoAAP 24/10/2016 Ben McKay

If half of winning is just showing up, then advantage Melbourne City ahead of Tuesday night's FFA Cup semi-final with Melbourne Victory.

City coach John van 't Schip insisted on kicking off a scheduled joint press conference on time and without opposite number Kevin Muscat on Monday, leaving the bemused Victory boss to join in two minutes through.

"I apologise for being 30 seconds late," Muscat quipped.

Victory fumed at the move, which they felt unnecessarily embarrassed Muscat.

Whether the Dutchman's move simply showed his commitment to keeping tight timelines or was a serious attempt at mind games, only he will know.

But Muscat's frosty response shows there's no love lost between Melbourne's A-League rivals, and right now it's Victory on the back foot.

Victory are the FFA Cup holders but their round two 4-1 drubbing by City has the sky blue half of Melbourne happier at the moment.

However, City were downed 3-2 by Perth Glory in their first home match of the year last weekend while Victory grabbed an away win over champions Adelaide United to kickstart their season.

Van 't Schip wasn't too concerned by his side's overall play against the Glory, just the manner that City conceded two goals.

"It showed that we were poor at set pieces ... nothing else actually," he said.

Muscat countered that his key take-out from Perth's visit was the same.

"We've been working on our set pieces," he said, drawing a wry smile from van 't Schip.

"Both tactically and within our application there needs to be a severe improvement.

"Tomorrow night's game has a different meaning for us because there's an opportunity to play in a grand final.

"We were lucky enough to be there last year and we want to be there again this time around."

Van 't Schip said he didn't expect to take on a sluggish Victory for the second time in 10 days.

"We know there's going to be a different Victory out there," he said.

"It's making sure the boys are in the right headspace."

City will be without Nicolas Colazo, who is still sidelined with an ear problem, while Bruce Kamau could also miss because of concession.

The young winger staggered out of Friday night's match but trained on Monday.

Van 't Schip said Luke Brattan was fine after playing out their last match despite grabbing at his hamstrings, while Tim Cahill is fresh enough to start two games in five days.

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