Muscat pleased with youthful Victory


Melbourne Victory head coach Kevin Muscat was pleased with his team after its 2-1 win over Shanghai SIPG in the AFC Champions League.

Jai Ingham scored a 68th-minute winner as a youthful Victory claimed an impressive win over the Chinese giant on Wednesday.

Earlier, Pierce Waring’s first goal for the club was cancelled out by Lin Chuangyi in the first half.

Speaking at a post-match news conference, Muscat was asked about the win and the AFC Champions League campaign as a whole.

on the win…
“I’m really pleased, just pleased for the group because you could see there was a genuine conservative effort from the group and there are dangers attached to when there’s so many new faces and they haven’t played together regularly but they’re only dangers if you don’t acknowledge them and you don’t execute and that’s what the focus was. You could sense there was a real collectiveness about the group tonight, coupled with some real good energy, real good effort and some good football and the fact that Shanghai are bringing on Hulk at half-time suggests they weren’t pleased about the way things were going and in the second half I thought it was more of the same for us and I thought it was an outstanding effort from the group. We worked on structure against them and they changed how they played, they went to a back five and the adjustment was pleasing for me, the adjustment within the group to find solutions in the first five, 10 minutes to their back three was superb and it started obviously with Pierce and Kenny (Athiu) at the top so really pleasing night for the group and the football club.”

on Victory’s home form in the AFC Champions League…
“I’d rather enjoy tonight to be honest. We’ll have time to reflect immediately now, you look back at the other game – the two points that we didn’t take here at home where we conceded three goals, but we dominated Ulsan, who were hanging on for dear life in the last 20 minutes but we just couldn’t find that winner, otherwise it would’ve been different. It wasn’t to be. It’s a great tournament to be in, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and we’ve given everything into it. If there’s anything, ultimately, based on the two competitions, losing players in January thinned the squad out a little bit and didn’t have the affect that we desired on the group.”

on what he learned from the win…
“There were a lot of familiar faces, but it’s been pleasing in the last couple of days, to be honest, working with the group, working on things that are not too familiar to us, just the willingness and eagerness of the group to want to learn and want to execute and want to succeed in a certain way. I think that’s given me a hell of a lot of energy. As a coaching group, we got together and we didn’t want to disrespect the game in any way, shape or form. We wanted to give the playing group the best opportunity so we worked just as hard as we worked on any other game and I think that sent a message to the players and the players responded by doing exactly the same thing tonight. Pierce gets his first goal for the club and Jai worked tirelessly tonight and in the end gets his reward, great ball in by Terry (Antonis), but the number of forward runs Jai made tonight was exceptional and I was really pleased for him.”