Kevin Muscat hails Victory’s resolve in Suwon


Melbourne Victory head coach Kevin Muscat has praised his team’s resilience and mental application after Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Suwon Bluewings in the AFC Champions League.

Victory secured a crucial point and remained unbeaten in the group stage after four games with a strong performance away from home.

Muscat said the way his players stuck to the task, particularly after conceding the opening goal, was crucial in getting a result out of the match.

“It’s difficult. They’re a very good team. To come up against them tonight when it was a must-win for them, we knew it was going to be tough,” he said.

“The beauty of it is you come up against different formations and different styles. We came up against something that we’re not used to in Australia.

“They’re a very direct, physical team. They played a hell of a lot of long balls, and they don’t allow you to press them.

“It was pleasing that we were able to see it out and take a point.

“We had to dig deep at times and defend really well, and I thought we did so. To score so soon after conceding was vital for us.

“All in all, there are some things we’re disappointed in, but if you take our last seven days into account, it’s been a difficult period.

“I couldn’t be happier for the group. They showed a great resolve and a very good team spirit.”

Victory’s defensive structures were sound for most of the match, though Suwon created the best goal-scoring opportunities.

Victory’s goal was breached once, however the performance of goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas prevented further damage, with the 23-year-old making a series of brilliant saves.

“I try to stay away from highlighting individuals, but it would be difficult to do that tonight,” Muscat said.

“He was outstanding. He made some crucial saves at crucial times for us. I’m pleased for him.”

Victory remained in second place in Group G with two games remaining, after Shanghai SIPG defeated Gamba Osaka 2-0 on Match Day 4.

Its next assignment is a trip to China to play Shanghai SIPG on Tuesday, April 19.

“We’ve travelled twice, this one under some difficult circumstances, and both times undefeated,” Muscat said.

“We’ll go to Shanghai in the next game with a great deal of confidence.”