Muscat: There was a lot to like


Melbourne Victory head coach Kevin Muscat was pleased with the signs his team showed despite a 3-2 loss to Perth Glory.

Victory looked set to earn a point at AAMI Park on Sunday after goals from Terry Antonis and Storm Roux drew it level, with Perth having gone 2-0 up through Joel Chianese and Andy Keogh.

But as Victory pushed for a dramatic winner, Glory struck through Chris Ikonomidis in the 93rd minute.

Speaking at a post-match news conference, Muscat discussed the progress his team is making and Kosta Barbarouses’ contribution to the club after his 100th Hyundai A-League appearance for Victory.

on the game…
“In relation to the score, we were probably on the canvas, but in terms of performance we were far from on the canvas, in my view. We will play a hell of a lot worse this year and win. Performance needs to be analysed. There was so much to like about it. It was so good. We were a couple of goals down and as time goes on, you can only go as fast as you can, we will eliminate those errors that at the moment just creep in from time to time and we concede from them.

“All in all, analysing the performance, there was a lot to like in the way we get forward, the way we create chances, the way we forced them into their own box in the second half. In the first half, we didn’t come to grips with where the space was for us. The space for us in the first half was outside Keisuke (Honda) and outside Terry. They were bringing the wing-backs in a back five very, very narrow and the space was outside them for Corey Brown and Storm Roux. In the second half, we utilised them a lot more and it was the reason, that change there, was the reason we put them on the back foot. All of a sudden, Terry is getting twice the touches in the opponent’s half, Keisuke is getting twice the touches in the opponent’s half, Jimmy (Troisi) is getting touches in the opponent’s half, Kosta’s causing havoc. You’re going to have to excuse me for not focusing, I understand it’s a results-driven business, no-one needs to tell me that, but there is a process and we’re heading in the right direction.”

on the formation…
“I don’t know if it’s that rigid. We kick off and that’s the formation and if formations are taken based on how we start off the kick off, that’s the formation, but I think there was a lot of fluidity in our attack. I don’t think it’s that rigid. The players have a lot of licence to move and I think that was evident in the second half. I’ll have to watch it again, but there was so much to like about it. Unfortunately, me speaking about the positives is not going to get a headline, you’ll wait for a grab that’s not so positive and errs on negative and that’ll get a great run, but I’m not there yet.

“There was a lot to like. I enjoyed watching us take it to them in the second half. There was space that we didn’t hurt them in in the first half, and in the second half Corey Brown and Storm Roux got so much more of the ball in further advanced areas which then allowed Keisuke and these front players to get the ball. Even in the second half when it was 2-0, I was very comfortable with the way we started that second half. There are things we’re going to have to improve and it wasn’t even the third goal, we had so many bodies in the box, it’s just the timing of decisions. We didn’t have anyone in the middle of the park, right in the centre of the park, where the ball gets played from so structurally we weren’t set up and possibly thinking about going on and winning the game.”

on Barbarouses’ Victory career…
“He’s been outstanding. He’s scored a lot of goals and sacrificed a lot in terms of starting the press and being aggressive in the way he presses. He’s had an unbelievable knack of scoring really big and important goals for the club as well. Kosta’s been outstanding and tonight he worked tirelessly, he led the line for us and the way we’re set up is to get Kosta exciting the crowd and the second half was evidence of that. We’re getting the ball into the right areas and we’re keeping it there so it allows him to be his menacing best, he was inches away with the chance when Keisuke played the ball in, he was millimetres away. He’s been an outstanding servant to the club with so much more to offer.”