Muscat hails ‘unbelievable’ Deng strike


Melbourne Victory head coach Kevin Muscat lauded Thomas Deng after the defender’s stunning goal against the Western Sydney Wanderers.

Deng produced a brilliant first-time volley in Victory’s 3-1 win over the Wanderers at AAMI Park on Saturday.

Leroy George and Besart Berisha were also on the scoresheet in an eventful clash in which both sides finished with 10 men.

Speaking at a post-match news conference, Muscat was asked about his side’s win and Deng’s incredible goal.

on the game…
“It was an interesting night, wasn’t it? Certainly used to entertaining here but that took things to a new level tonight. I thought after last week’s performance and result in Perth, it was an exceptional effort. Western Sydney came out really determined. You could sense that they had really something to play for in terms of finals spots, hearing before the game that Brisbane had won, overtaken them. They came out really determined I suppose as we’d expect.

“I think as the game settled, we got ourselves some ascendancy, scored a goal, from Leroy’s perspective, he’s getting free-kicks in those areas, you can almost feel the nervousness in the opposition now. He’s applying great pressure with his delivery and then we concede a goal in injury time. They’ve got a throw-in in their defensive third. There were some things that we came in at half-time that the playing group weren’t pleased with.

“Then in the second half, it’s a totally different game. The pitch doesn’t change in size but there just seems to be so much more space, nine players v nine players. The players were instructed to carry out certain things and I thought the way they executed that was exceptional, it gave us the momentum and gave us the ascendancy and it gave us multiple scoring opportunities in the second half where we were forcing the ball to their full-backs with Jimmy (Troisi) and Leroy underneath their full-backs so we were able to apply pressure from in front of them and going the other way, our full-backs were very adventurous, receiving the ball beyond their wingers or midfielders so the contrast there really gave us the ascendancy.

“Leroy hits the post, there were multiple opportunities to score more goals so it was a resilient performance when we didn’t have the ball, especially in that second half, tactically to be resilient the way we were. Going the other way, I thought we were relentless. We had speed in wide areas, craft in wide areas that caused them a great deal of problems in the second half.”

on Deng’s strike…
“You’re saying to yourself, ‘Terry (Antonis), sit in front of the back four, keep possession of the ball, the further you go forward the further you’ve got to run back’ so just trying to keep him calm. Tommy, ‘stay in your back four, let them try and break us down’ and then I’m looking and I see Terry on the byline, turning on his right foot so he’s the highest player on our team and Tommy Deng is springing from right-back to get in the box. JP (de Marigny, assistant coach) calls it before he hits it. He calls ‘shoot, shoot’. It was an unbelievable strike. It won’t get the credit it deserves because Tommy’s not a glamour name, but taking into consideration the degree of difficult, the technique, the accuracy, it was a great strike for Tommy. I was really happy for him and I daresay he was pleased with it as well.”