Muscat pleased with Victory performance


Melbourne Victory head coach Kevin Muscat was proud of his team’s performance after a 2-1 loss to Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Tuesday.

Despite dominating possession away from home, Victory fell to defeat in the Group F clash in the AFC Champions League.

Keisuke Honda had cancelled out Shunki Higashi’s opener, but Daiki Watari headed in a late winner for the host.

Speaking at a post-match news conference, Muscat was pleased with the way Victory controlled proceedings in Hiroshima.

on the game…
“It’s disappointing to sit here having lost the game, but I’m very proud of the team and the performance. To come to Japan, dominate the football game, dominate possession, dominate the play and be the more aggressive team is very pleasing. Sometimes the performance, you’re not rewarded with the result, but to perform against a team here in Japan the way we did was very positive.”

on Honda’s performance…
“Keisuke has a licence to receive the ball inside or outside. The way Sanfrecce set up, dropping off, very defensive-orientated philosophy, very defensive team, the space between defenders and midfielders is very small so it was important to try and receive the ball behind those midfielders as much as possible. We put Keisuke inside for 10 or 15 minutes and he scored the goal. I was very pleased for Keisuke. In general, I’m very proud of the football we tried to play, very attacking, to dominate possession – nearly 65 per cent possession, nearly double the passes of the home team – very, very pleasing. Unfortunately, the result sometimes doesn’t reflect the performance and that’s what happened.”

on the group…
“Right now, it’s not the moment to be thinking about the rest of the tournament. It’s important to reflect on the performance and as I said earlier, I like to play attacking football, I like to play exciting football and when we walked off the stadium, the reaction and the response we got from the local fans, the Sanfrecce fans, was for me, the respect that they showed for the way we tried to play so tonight and the next days will be a reflection. We have a league game on Saturday and we will continue to try and play our style of football.”

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on conceding early…
“The goal came after three minutes so the game hadn’t settled. We prepared well for the game and after three minutes, we conceded a goal. That didn’t stop us from playing a brand of football and taking the football to the opposition, trying to attack the opposition, keeping possession of the football. There were long periods, many, many miles away from Melbourne, Australia, where we kept Sanfrecce in their own half for long periods, created many, many opportunities, many, many chances, with exciting football and unfortunately as you said, we conceded in the first three minutes and the last three minutes so it’s difficult emotions at this point.”