John van ‘t Schip hailed a deserved derby win for his Melbourne City side and singled out young defenders Connor Chapman and Ben Garuccio for praise after beating Melbourne Victory 1-0 on Saturday night.
City claimed all three points and secured local bragging rights courtesy of Erik Paartalu’s injury-time winner at AAMI Park, inflicting a first defeat of the season on their navy blue foes.
Recording successive wins for the first time in 2014-15 will provide Van ‘t Schip’s men with a huge confidence boost ahead of their Boxing Day showdown with league leaders Perth Glory, the performance drawing praise from their Dutch coach.
“The boys were really good in their way of working and fighting,” he said.
“I think we deserved the win. Winning a derby is nice. Winning a second game in a row, second time clean sheet (in succession). Getting Robi Koren on the pitch. Guys playing their second game in a row, like Ben Garuccio and Connor Chapman.”
Chapman, who has recovered from glandular fever to replace Robbie Wielaert at centre-back, produced a commanding display in helping to keep a clean sheet against free-scoring Victory, prompting comparison with former City defender Curtis Good.
“They played together in the centre for the Young Socceroos,” Van ‘t Schip said.
“He’s a young promising player, physically strong (and) on the ball. He can read the game quite well. The expectations always go (as you play) more, he has to prove himself every week.
“Connor, coming from a very long period of inactivity and not playing games, showed in a big game that he’s a player with a lot of future, still has to learn, still is not actually 100 percent.”
Another player working his way back to fitness is marquee international Robert Koren, who made his City debut off the bench after shaking off the calf problem that delayed the start of his A-League career.
“It’s good to have him, he brings some kind of rest in the way in the way of playing,” Van ‘t Schip said.
“(He) created a good opportunity that almost went in, so he has that authority in his game. That’s I think for our team important.”