When Erick Mombaerts promised a 'transformation' you had to take it with a grain of salt.

The French manager is a typical City coach in more ways than one. Melbourne City, much to their fans' ire, is a farm team, bought by the City Football Group conglomerate to broaden their potential network of promising players and transfer fee payoffs.

For that perhaps unfulfilling criteria, Mombaerts is one of their best yet.

He's a relatively unsuccessful coach at club level, where he's endured less-than-eventful spells at Le Havre and fellow City group club Yokohama F Marinos, where he was replaced by Ange Postecoglou.

But secret to Mombaerts' reputation is his five-year spell with the U18 and U21 French national teams. Working closely with Gerard Houllier, the two helped change the approach to training French talent.

Mombaerts put an end to the soft, nurturing approach that led to an overflow of failed prodigies instead instigating a harder regime based off that of the Germans and Spaniards.

It changed the French academy products from the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa to Antoine Griezemann.

Mombaerts' former pupils have proven key to France's international domination nearly a decade later. Thus, in the face of declining club fortunes, somehow his reputation grows.

But while it's clear that Melbourne City are attaining an astute tactical developer, one that can progress their brimming stocks of prodigious Aussie talent, is that a transformation? 

"I'm very happy with the attitude of the players," Mombaerts lauds in a thick northern French accent.

"I'm very happy with their attitude and also with their understanding, they try to understand and also do well.

"Every session we have a positive positive review about what we have done on the field. So that sounds good.

"But it takes time to have a complete style because it's difficult. But at the moment, I'm happy with the level of the team."

Mombaerts' own life is on-hold while City adjust to their new tactician's approach, with the 64-year-old offering a brief insight into the life of a foreign football coach.

Until four years ago, Mombaerts had never played nor worked outside of France across his 45-year-career.

But his spell in Yokohama, one of the furthest places in the world from the sleepy bays of Normandy, has taught him that training a football team can be a far easier beast than amalgamating into a different culture.

Besides, wearing expensive designer sunglasses, Mombaerts clearly enjoys the numerous benefits of working for the City Football Group.

But he didn't have to look at the career of his predecessor to know that juggling a development team, big egos and high expectations is a challenge that requires the utmost concentration.

After an early scare in City's scraping 4-3 victory against Oakleigh Cannons, Mombaerts is focusing on "what really matters".

"It's easy for me because I have only one thing in my mind," he said.

"I'm only focusing on my job because I have no time for adaptation to this life or something like that. It's always this job, it's always the same.

"Every country you are in, for the first two months, it's very important to focus on on the job. Then maybe you can focus on adaptation into Australian life. But now (football) is the priority.

"We don't know exactly what kind of game we will have on Wednesday, but it's clear you have to win. You have to win.

"Yes, we're going to set up and we want to play with our style. But it's very important to win. So this is the first game in my mind.

"I want first to focus on winning and willing to win and all manner of things to win.

"...But with our style, if possible."