Kean wants intensity from kick-off

Callum McManaman

Melbourne Victory interim head coach Steve Kean was pleased with his team’s response but wants to see his side’s starts improve in the A-League.

Callum McManaman curled in a second-half equaliser to cancel out Matt Simon’s opener as Victory drew 1-1 with the Central Coast Mariners on Sunday.

Victory again finished strongly and pushed for a winner at AAMI Park, but it was held to a draw.

Speaking at his post-match news conference, Kean discussed the game and the injuries suffered by McManaman and Ben Folami, who missed the clash.

on the game…
“I think it’s good to get a response like we did against Sydney, so I thought the second half we were better and same today, but we can’t keep on giving ourselves a mountain to climb by only starting in the second half, or maybe the last seven or eight minutes of the first half. That’s the thing we need to improve on. If we can put the two halves together, the two second-half performances from Sydney and from today, I think we give ourselves a real good chance of getting three points as opposed to only one. Having said that, good to get the response, we pressed higher up the pitch, we gave more service into the front unit. It’s a strange decision I felt the goal (scored by Rudy Gestede) that was disallowed I thought should’ve stood and maybe that gives us some extra minutes with some extra momentum, but it’s a hard job, referees, I never criticise them, it’s the hardest job in the game, I just felt it was a goal that should’ve stood.”

on Folami…
“He just tweaked his groin a little bit yesterday and we hoped it would settle down overnight, we got him in early for a fitness test, but with the games coming thick and fast, the lads having to back it up so quickly, we felt it was probably better for him to miss one and not risk it and be hopefully available for the game on Thursday. If he opens up his groin it goes more of a strain then he could miss three or four games because there’s so many games coming around so it was a calculated decision. Also the fact that Lleyton Brooks did really well against Sydney, he’s in a good vein of form so to put him in, I thought he did well with the ball and he’ll continue to improve when he gets that tactical side, when he has to go and when he has to stay. I think he done well.”

on defensive improvement…
“The players deserve credit for that because they’re listening to the information that we’re giving them on a daily basis about the defensive structure and then from that defensive structure then we spring into an offensive play. We work on it and the pleasing thing for us, the staff, is that we can see our work on the pitch and it gives us a chance to first of all not concede as many goals, but then get more chances and I felt we finished the game again strong which is something we really need to keep on pushing at, start the games better, finish the games the same and I think we’ll put a lot more points on the board.”

on whether there were any injuries…
“Callum McManaman’s twisted his ankle, I don’t know if you’ve seen that one early on, kind of midway through the first half when he stretched for a cross, he’s twisted it, but fair play to him he stayed on, we’ll get that scanned in the morning. Hopefully it’s just a bit of bone bruising (and) he can back it up, apart from that it’ll just be tired legs so we’ll come in tomorrow, recover, and get them back on the park.”