Ange rapt with first-gamers


Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou was delighted with the contribution of his younger brigade in their 2-1 win over Melbourne Heart on Saturday night.

Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou was delighted with the contribution of his younger brigade in their 2-1 win over Melbourne Heart on Saturday night.

Goals from experienced duo Archie Thompson and Mark Milligan, the latter from the penalty spot, were enough to give Victory the win at Etihad Stadium, with David Williams pulling one back for Heart after 73 minutes.

Although it was his experienced campaigners that did the damage on the scoreboard, the performance of debutants Scott Galloway and Connor Pain impressed the coach, in a season where plenty of new talent has been blooded.

Already handing debuts to Andrew Nabbout, Theo Markelis, Sam Gallagher and Nick Ansell in 2012/13, Postecoglou was pleased with the efforts of Galloway, who slotted in well at full-back.

“I thought he was great, he’s 17 years old, he probably hasn’t slept for three nights,” Postecoglou said.

“(Heart winger) David Williams is very dangerous. There was only a couple of times he got in behind him and that would happen to I reckon the best full-backs in the league.

“He’s a very good young player. We threw him to the wolves today and some may say that’s a little bit unfair but I had a feeling that he’d cope OK, and he coped better than OK – he’s going to be a real good player for us.

“Connor’s being really good in our youth team, our youth team’s flying as well, he’s been really good and we had to reward that. He’s got pace and he did his bit when he came on (with 10 minutes remaining).”

Postecoglou credited the integration of Victory’s youth team into first-team training as key to having the youngsters hit the ground running when stepping up to A-League action.

“I think the way we train not just ourselves, our youth team, the way we play – they have comfort in the structure,” he said.

“So whether they’re playing their first game, they’ve already worked on it. Scotty’s a bit of a unique case because he’s only been with us a couple of weeks, but Kevin Muscat’s spent a lot of time with him these last two weeks just telling him what our expectation of a full-back role is.

“Our youth team’s going really well and there’s a couple more there that we’ll throw up at some stage this year because I really believe we’ve got some good young players at the football club.

“Most of the youth team boys train with us every day. And I think that helps us.”

Ansell was forced off just after the half-hour mark with a groin problem on Saturday, and star winger Marco Rojas looked sore when he came off late on – but Postecoglou was optimistic the New Zealand international would be fit for next week.

“Rojas should be ok, I think it was just a bit of tightness, but Ansell’s obviously done something, he’s tweaked his groin so we’ll just see what the medical team comes up with,” he said.

And the coach paid tribute to his club’s supporters, with 41,203 fans seeing the win that pulled Victory within three points of leaders Central Coast.

“It was a cracking night of football, that’s for sure. It’s a great atmosphere and again our support was quite phenomenal,” he said.

“It was a good game, they put us under pressure at times.

“Obviously (we’re) very pleased to get the three points in what was always going to be pretty tight and tense affair.”