Brebner: We’re in a better place than we were


Grant Brebner believes Melbourne Victory is in a better place after showcasing its youth late in the Hyundai A-League season.

Victory finished its league campaign with a 2-1 loss to the Western Sydney Wanderers at Bankwest Stadium on Wednesday.

Birkan Kirdar, Aaron Anderson, Jay Barnett and Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio started for Victory, while Lleyton Brooks, Brandon Lauton, So Nishikawa and Josh Varga came off the bench, the latter for his debut.

Speaking at his post-match news conference, interim head coach Brebner discussed the game and the five matches since Victory restarted its season last month.

on recent games…
“I think first of all we’re in a better place than we were. We’ve put a lot of trust in a lot of players and as I sit here now I’m talking through emotion, but I think there’s a lot of players now that we’ve seen in a different light. There are players that have performed at a level now that are going to make it very difficult for any coach that comes in now to let them drop below that. We saw some kids come in that arrived as kids, they’re probably going to go home now as young men. They’ve put themselves in the shop window now to make sure that they become professional footballers and stay professional footballers.”

on whether it was tough to turn to youth…
“It wasn’t difficult because I know the players and like I said what we tried to build 10 and a half weeks ago was not really about just the kids, it was about bringing a togetherness in this first-team environment. Whether you were young, old, middle-aged, it didn’t really matter. What I was trying to build was just get some continuity back in performances of a high level, just simple things that for me are non-negotiables, to see effort, enthusiasm, work rate, desire on the football pitch and I’ll argue with anybody that we saw that over five games and the standard is there now and they don’t drop below it.”

on the game…
“I think Western Sydney Wanderers deserved to be in front. We didn’t do enough in the first half and when I say we didn’t do enough, we kind of played into their hands a little, they’d obviously watched how we play, it took us a little bit of time to then change to just playing a little bit higher and balls in behind and earning the right to play. We spoke about it at half-time and I think we actually played some decent stuff in the second half and arguably could’ve got something out of it.”

on the youth…
“I felt we were a bit shaky to begin with, but we grew into it. I thought Birkan (Kirdar) was fantastic again. He’s got enthusiasm and he loves to get around, but he’s also got a brain on him. You can see that he knows where he’s going before he gets on the ball, it’s not arriving and he’s just starting to think about it, there’s a thought process for why he’s trying to get on the ball. Not just even tonight, I thought Aaron Anderson over the course of this period, he’s come up against (Mitchell) Duke, Scott McDonald, Bes (Berisha), (Bruno) Fornaroli and one or two mistakes, but as defenders he’s going to make mistakes. He’ll be all the better for that. There’s been a few. There were flashes tonight where you see some players what they can do, but they’ve got to get better as well so I don’t want to build everything up and then somebody’s bubble bursts, we’ve got to make sure that we’re looking after these kids and not letting them believe a little bit of hype at the moment.”

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