With two new signings at his disposal, Melbourne City coach Erick Mombaerts says his side's gritty goalless draw with Perth Glory can spark a strong second half of the A-League season.
City have been criticised for poor performances and concentration lapses in big games this season but they delivered their second consecutive clean sheet on Saturday night to end Perth's six-game winning streak and maintain their hold on second place.
Markel Susaeta and Jack Hendry made their first starts for City, while Mombaerts will be able to call upon Connor Metcalfe, Denis Genreau, Tom Glover and Ramy Najjarine when they return from national team duties.
"It's a very good start today - a good start against Perth, a clean sheet and we were strong," Mombaerts said.
"Yes, for me it's a good start and maybe the next step is we have to keep our defensive performance and I know that our team also can have good possession play, possession-based football with the help of Markel Sasueta at a good physical level (and) I think we can improve also our offensive side.
"So I'm sure we will be better in the future."
Mombaerts was happy with how Scottish international Hendry slotted into the heart of defence - and Harrison Delbridge's subsequent adjustment at right-back.
The City coach praised his team's attitude and ability to keep a clean sheet against the in-form Glory and hinted at further improvements to come as Hendry and Susaeta find their feet.
"We knew before that Perth was performing very well, six wins in a row, but today our answer was very good," he said.
"We just need to take time to adapt with our two new players ... because Jack has only three trainings with us and Markel Susueta is not fit enough."
Australian Associated Press