Muscat hails Victory reaction


Melbourne Victory head coach Kevin Muscat praised his team for its fighting qualities after its thrilling 3-3 draw with Ulsan Hyundai.

A brace from Leroy George, who also set up a goal for Rhys Williams, helped Victory claim a point in the Group F clash in the AFC Champions League on Tuesday.

Mislav Orsic scored a brace for the K-League side, those strikes coming either side of Richard Windbichler’s header, as Ulsan took the lead three times, only for Victory to respond almost immediately on each occasion.

Speaking at a post-match news conference, Muscat was asked about the game and performance of his side.

on the game…
“They’ve had a few new signings that haven’t really played for them too much so it was going to be cagey (early). I thought we settled the better and then overall, to summarise, for us to peg back three leads was an outstanding effort from the group and reacted to going down three times, it was outstanding and the second goal from Leroy, the build-up was phenomenal. To play with that sort of confidence, against a very good team that we should respect, but naturally to concede three goals at home (was disappointing), but I think the reaction from the group was the most telling thing.”

on the attacking performance…
“When we are defending, when we haven’t got the ball, it takes everybody so we aren’t going to identify individuals and the same goes for when we attack. The composure that we showed in midfield and to play out, to persist and keep playing out, and dominate possession and dominate the ball, leads to Leroy and Bes (Berisha), who was outstanding tonight, involved in the first two goals and really put in a performance, the foundations for us to perform the way we did. Those efforts give Leroy and Jimmy (Troisi) and Kosta (Barbarouses) the opportunities to perform in that front third of the park. When you get back and have a look at that second goal again, it was a very good goal.”

on chances of progressing…
“It’s early. Who knows what’s going to happen down the track? I think what we did see is we showed a great appetite for this competition in our performance and, like I said, a group of players, even the boys who came on, fought for the football club, fought for each other, fought for me, and it was pleasing to see. We take the next game on and see where it takes us.”

on Kenny Athiu’s performance off the bench…
“He did very well when he came on. He worked ever so hard and he posed a different question, different problems, for the opposition. He got himself into some good areas and he worked tirelessly. At that point there where Bes has put in an amazing effort for the group, we bring Kenny on to continue those efforts if you like and he should be very pleased with his contribution.”