Muscat: It’s a proud night for the club


Melbourne Victory head coach Kevin Muscat described his team’s win over Kawasaki Frontale as a proud night for the club.

Kosta Barbarouses scored a 90th-minute winner for Victory to see it to a 1-0 success in Tuesday’s AFC Champions League clash in Melbourne.

The result moved Victory onto five points from four games in Group F, boosting its chances of progression.

Speaking at a post-match news conference, Muscat was proud of his team and its win over the J1 League champion.

on the win over the Japanese champion…
“Watching a lot of the teams and studying their competition, that’s why I’m so positive about their competition because I’ve watched it and a lot of the teams, like they did to us over there and in the first half, albeit they were at home over there, they still retreat. Most teams retreat and set up and then press once you get in and around the halfway line, where tonight we didn’t allow them that luxury and the longer the game went on, and we’d spoken about the fact we’d travelled across there, we’d got back before them and having said that, they had the luxury of making six changes and freshening their team up and they don’t seem to, with the squads they’ve got and the resources they’ve got, they don’t lose much in terms of quality and that’s why I think it’s a massive scalp, massive scalp for the football club, massive scalp for Australian football and it’s a proud night for us. To take four points off them over two games and we’re still in the competition – we’ll wait to see what the result is in the game that’s being played in Korea – regardless of what it is, we’ll go into the next game with something to play for.”

on the approach…
“If you don’t get in the ring, you don’t get bruised. I’m in the ring and along the way, I’ll take some bruises and that’s part and parcel. I’ve got a group of players who believe in what we’re trying to do. The debate on selection, that can go on forever and it still goes on in near enough every team so the fact that tonight we happen to get a win, does that mean I get everything right and when we don’t win, does that mean I get everything wrong?”

on his side’s fast finish and substitutions…
“I think early on we’re playing against a very good team and we had to defend and defend well. They were very, very energetic in that first half and the defending wasn’t the issue. The issue was we couldn’t retain the first pass when we dispossessed them because whenever we did do that and we discussed it at half-time, whenever we could get out of that first bit of traffic because they’re very good at pressing immediately upon giving the ball away or when we take it off them, when we got over that first bit of traffic, it was them running towards their own goal and as the game wore on, I think we came to grips with that and come to grips with the speed and intensity of their pressure and we hurt them and made them defend numerous times. If you want to describe that persistent pressure, the last 20, 25 minutes, it was relentless and it’s a credit to the group.

“No-one is happy when they come off. I’m more interesting about, at that point in time, what the ones who come on are going to do. Kenny (Athiu) done very, very well prior to the goal he played Kosta in and it came back out and we started again. Chrissy (Theoharous) influenced the game, contributed to the game and Josh Hope was great. He didn’t show any fear, playing with a lot of freedom so the contribution from the boys who came on was exactly what’s required for the team and that’s what I’m interested in more.”