This past weekend, Ange Postecoglou’s Melbourne Victory continued their 2012-13 Hyundai A-League season with a full-on tilt against Ian Ferguson’s Perth Glory at the comfy confines of AAMI Park in Melbourne. Sitting in the middle of the league ladder, Melbourne were determined to utilize their depth and make things happen against a Perth team struggling to get some offensive production.
One player that has been on the rise: Andrew Nabbout, who signed a deal this past week to be a part of the Victory until the end of the 2014-15 A-League campaign.
“We identified Andrew as the type of young player that would fit well into our systems, but the impact he’s had in such a short period of time has been a very pleasant surprise,” Postecoglou told MelbourneVictory.com.au. “He’s an excellent young man and has worked really hard to get to where he is and thoroughly deserves his first senior contract.”
“It’s been an incredible ride so far and to be rewarded with my first professional contract is the realisation of a boyhood dream,” Nabbout said earlier this week. “Everyone has been great to me since I arrived and started training with the squad, so hopefully I can continue to repay the faith they’ve shown in me.”
As for the Victory manager, he was fully aware of the dangers Perth possessed on all facets of the game. Postecoglou noted the one factor that separates the contenders from the pretenders this season: solid team defense.
“I think it’s a constant reinforcement of what our priorities defensively are,” Postecoglou told Greig Johnston of Omnisport. “And obviously it’s not just about defenders or the goalkeeper, it’s about the whole team.
“If nothing else at least last week’s given them the confidence that when we stick to our organisation we can be pretty resilient defensively. We need to keep improving that area, and I think we’ve still got improvement to go.”
Prophetically, Postecoglou’s emphasis on improved team defense was crucial to Melbourne Victory preserving their 1-0 victory over the Perth Glory. The red-hot Marco Rojas found his scoring mojo off a crisp chip shot in the 58th minute that eluded Glory netminder Danny Vukovic.
However, following the game, Postecoglou noted another intangible that helped Melbourne win the days for their fans: depth.
“Our system is designed to give somebody like Marco and Andrew Nabbout and Archie [Thompson] and the wide players we’ve got to give them the freedom to play,” said Postecoglou to Ronny Lerner for MelbourneVictory.com.au. “To get that license to play you’ve got to do all the other things and when we decided to, as a team, stick to our organisation and discipline then people like Marco and Andrew and Gui (Finkler) started really coming into the game.
“He (Rojas) scored a cracking goal and he’s been good all year and the good thing about Marco is he’ll roll up to training and come in wanting to get better and that’s what we need.”
Up next for the Victory is a crunch-time showdown with Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Dec. 7. As of this article date, Adelaide are currently first in the A-League ladder with a 6-1-1 record (19 points) and will look to hold off the Central Coast Mariners next weekend.