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Long City short on A-League answers

AAP logoAAP 18/12/2016 Ben McKay

Melbourne City coach John van 't Schip says his players weren't following instructions in their 2-1 A-League derby defeat and need to work on their decision making.

City took the lead in Saturday night's Christmas classic through Tim Cahill but lacked a cutting edge in front of goal.

They were punished by Victory, which claimed their first derby success in 14 months when Besart Berisha put away Marco Rojas' second-half cross.

Van 't Schip said the seeds for their defeat were planted in the opening 45 minutes, when Victory might have leaped ahead.

"During the game the decision making ended up being every time (pass the ball) long," he said.

"Because we went long, or when we had the ball too early and direct, we played (Victory) into the game.

"It's not that we set to do that. The players know that.

"We didn't have the patience or the quality ... (or) the decision making in that moment to switch it up."

"That's the lesson we have to take out of this game."

The chief positive for City would be Ruon Tongyik, the defensive bolt from the blue who led their defence in just his second game as Michael Jakobsen missed out.

"He was one of the players that kept on playing and wanted to play the ball," he said.

"It wasn't easy for him to play last week and again today without Michael Jakobsen, to replace him. But I think he did that in a very good way ... he showed character and his quality."

The flipside is perhaps a sliding doors moment for Connor Chapman, City's first-choice centre-back until this season.

Chapman was mooted as a future Socceroos stopper when he was one of the re-branded club's first signings in 2014, but was overlooked for the 19-year-old and couldn't even find a place on the bench.

Van 't Schip didn't want to discuss that decision, saying only, "there's a choice we had to make. The choice was that we went for Ruon."

Jakobsen, who has a minor calf issue, is no certainty to feature in City's next match against Perth Glory.

The club will also assess Luke Brattan, who looked troubled by a groin injury all night and played out the 90 minutes despite appearing to call for his own substitution at times.

While before the match van 't Schip insisted his side wouldn't suffer from big game fatigue, he hinted that might have been a cause.

"We had a few tough weeks behind us with big games. In the end this one was one too much."

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