Muscat: Honda a pleasure to watch


Melbourne Victory head coach Kevin Muscat labelled match-winner Keisuke Honda a “pleasure to watch” after his side’s 2-1 win over Sydney FC.

Honda’s second-half penalty at Jubilee Stadium on Sunday saw Victory to a third straight win in the Hyundai A-League.

It came after Ola Toivonen’s first goal for the club was cancelled out by Adam Le Fondre.

Speaking at his post-match news conference, Muscat discussed Honda, Toivonen and his side’s recent form.

on the game…
“We took a deserved lead and again, things changed because the first time they have a strike on our goal, it’s a penalty. I think both teams were very well organised so as a real footballing game, it was difficult for both teams I thought. The surface was immaculate. It just felt a bit strange without stands, without boards around the pitch, it just felt a bit strange. Maybe that affected the players as well. From our perspective, I thought it was an outstanding performance away from home. In terms of domination, we had quite a few shots on goal, I reckon more than them, but we always point to stats to prove or disprove an argument, I think all in all we deserved the three points, regardless of the stats.”

on the winning streak…
“It was nervy if you’re talking about the results, but performance-wise it wasn’t nervy whatsoever. Analysing those games, those first two games, we were pleased with a lot of things. We said at that point in time we were still getting to know each other and today was a little bit of that as well because Ola comes into the team and he’s played limited minutes with his team-mates so the understanding looked not as fluent as it has in the last two or three weeks. He’s an intelligent footballer and when we get to understand, he makes some really clever runs, and we utilise him better going forward and likewise him getting to understand his team-mates but very pleased that we could get 60-65 minutes into him.”

on Toivonen…
“You’ve got to be realistic and there’s going to be some patience needed because his last game was at the World Cup so it was quite a while ago. He was getting fit, getting really fit, and he had a little setback and almost had to start again so looking forward to getting him really match fit because he’s fit at the moment but it’s just a different fitness playing games.”

on Honda’s start to the season…
“He looks after himself unbelievably well. He’s the utmost professional in the way he carries himself, in the way he looks after himself. He arrived back (from being away with Cambodia) Thursday morning, he was on the training ground by Thursday 1 o’clock. He came in, did a recovery and looked after himself, trained with the team Friday and flew up here with us yesterday and he had a huge influence on the game. It was a pleasure to watch.”