Luck had nothing to do with win, insists Ange


Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou has denied suggestions his side were lucky as they came from behind to defeat Perth Glory 2-1 in the first A-League elimination final.

Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou has denied suggestions his side were lucky as they came from behind to defeat Perth Glory 2-1 in the first A-League elimination final.

With three minutes to go at Etihad Stadium on Friday, the Victory were 1-0 down and facing a penalty from Glory-s expert marksman Shane Smeltz, but the New Zealand international hit the crossbar.

Postecoglou’s men then equalised from the spot through Mark Milligan before winning the game in extra-time thanks to Archie Thompson’s header.

Responding to a question about whether his side were fortunate to get through, Postecoglou said: “That’s not our fault (that they missed their penalty).

“(Milligan) could have missed the penalty and it takes some real heart (to take a late penalty) so we are dismissing that it was luck.

“We left it late and it wasn’t pretty but you still got to win the game and in my experience in football, particularly in finals games, the result is there when the referee blows his whistle.

“I’ve been on the (negative) end a couple of times and I’ve never deemed myself or the opposition lucky.”

Postecoglou lamented the fact that Victory conceded an early goal but was pleased with the manner in which his team kept on working to get themselves back in the game.

“As we’ve done a fair bit this year, we conceded a soft goal for no reason really,” he said.

“From then on it was pretty hard to dictate the tempo the way we wanted to because obviously (Perth) could sit back and we were the ones having to force the game.

“In a finals game the first goal is always important and from our perspective it just made things difficult.

“It’s probably been our Achilles heel all year that we just concede soft goals at bad times.

“Moving forward from that, we just kept persevering and if you keep doing that until the final whistle then the opportunity will come and sometimes it does come in the last minute of a game.

“From our perspective we take the result and move forward.”

Victory will now travel to meet the Central Coast Mariners next Sunday with a spot in the Grand Final up for grabs, and Postecoglou was under no illusions over how tough getting through the next game will be.

“I think people underestimate the difference between finals games and normal home and away games,” he said.

“It’s not an easy thing (to win a final) and to win a finals game, every player out there, regardless of how they are feeling, are going to give every ounce of energy they have and more.

“You saw that 22 players were absolutely spent at the end of that game and that’s every finals game.

“So every time you get a win in that kind of scenario, it’s never lucky. I’m happy to be sitting on the plus ledger this time but I know next week it could be the other way if we don’t go to the 90th or 120th minute.”

Postecoglou has introduced plenty of youngsters into the team this season and he believes the pressure of finals games will help develop them into better players in the future.

“For a lot of these blokes, it’s not only their first final but their first year at the club,” he said.

“Scott Galloway was playing for the AIS in front of 50 people three months ago and Jason Geria was in a similar type of scenario and Andrew Nabbout also came on and made an impact.

“If we can give these guys this kind of experience now, they are only going to be better for it.

“It’s why we set our standards high and it’s why two weeks ago (against Perth at home), regardless of the fact we were undermanned, we weren’t happy with the fact we lost and I think that’s when you set your standards when you have an opportunity to make an excuse and we didn’t make an excuse.

“We saw those young guys who understand that playing for Melbourne Victory means that you give everything to try and get the win and I think there is some valuable lessons not just for the finals series but for the future.”