WARREN Joyce says Melbourne City has got no choice but to adapt to life without Bruno Fornaroli.
And despite being without their star striker for Wednesday night’s FFA Cup quarterfinal against Sydney FC, the new City boss is confident his side can defy the odds to keep its title defence alive.
The Leichhardt Oval clash is a rematch of last year’s Cup final, which City won 1-0.
It will be only the second competitive game City has played without Fornaroli, scorer of 49 goals in 66 games, since the Uruguayan arrived.
But while Fornaroli is out, City welcomes back Tim Cahill for the first time this season, while new signing Marcelo Carrusca — unveiled on Tuesday — is also available.
Fornaroli broke his ankle in the Round of 16 win against Hakoah Sydney City and may even be out until 2018.
Joyce said replacing the 30-year-old is an unenviable task.
“Every team in the league would find it difficult, considering his goal scoring record,” Joyce said.
“But you can’t dwell on it or mope about it because the reality is it’s happened now. You’ve got to adapt.
“This is an important challenge for both us and Sydney, that’s how we’re approaching it. We want to put a mark down early in the season.”
Carrusca, signed on a one-year deal, said he had been holding out for a City contract since the end of last season.
After five golden years with Adelaide, in which he won an A-League title and an FFA Cup, the attacking midfielder comes to Melbourne confident he has a significant role to play for City.
The 34-year-old also does not take up a visa spot despite being a 16-time Argentine youth international as he became an Australian citizen in July.
Carrusca told the Herald Sun that change of allegiance helped him find his way to City, as did a post-season chat with former Adelaide chief executive Michael Petrillo, who is now City’s football manager.
The three-time PFA team of the year member said two weeks of training in Argentina followed by a rigorous fitness schedule laid out for him by a personal trainer in Adelaide had him in good stead.
But while he was confident the City deal would eventually come, Carrusca said he remained apprehensive until signing on the dotted line.
“To be honest I’ve been waiting for this since the last season finished,” Carrusca said.