Ange Postecoglou’s Melbourne Victory took on Melbourne Heart on Saturday at Etihad Stadium knowing that a win would put the pressure on A-League leaders Central Coast Mariners.
The only change for the match was that Postecoglou started 17-year old Youth League star Scott Galloway at right back in place of Diogo Ferreira. For Postecoglou, age was only a number.
“I don’t think age has got anything to do with it,” Postecoglou told Luke Sheehan for melbournevictory.com.au. “I’ve seen 30-year-olds crumble on the big stage. At the end of the day, he (Galloway) plays for Melbourne Victory – we can’t find a game we’re going to play in front of 3000 people for him.
“So if he wants to be a Melbourne Victory player, that means playing in front of big crowds, big games, and I’m really confident he’ll play well.”
A large turnout was expected for this game: 41,203 would show up for this final Melbourne Derby match.
“I love big crowds. If we keep breaking records, it’s great – it’s great for the code, it’s great for our football club so it is important,” Postecoglou added. “If we were playing in the state in front of 5000 people, I’d be pretty disappointed so hopefully we do get a record crowd.
“The signs are really good. We had a great weekend last week, sold out AAMI Park, and everyone that turned up left pretty satisfied with what they saw in terms of the spectacle, with it being a derby tomorrow, everyone back (from) holidays, back at schools, I’m hoping we do break the record.”
Archie Thompson opened up the scoring in the 29th minute of play and Mark Milligan added a 56th-minute penalty to give the Victory a 2-1 victory over the Heart. David Williams pulled one back for Melbourne Heart in the 73rd minute of play.
After the match, Postecoglou had nothing but praise for his youngsters.
“I thought he was great, he’s 17 years old, he probably hasn’t slept for three nights,” Postecoglou said of Galloway to Grieg Johnston of Omnisport. “(Heart winger) David Williams is very dangerous. There was only a couple of times he got in behind him and that would happen to I reckon the best full-backs in the league.
“He’s a very good young player. We threw him to the wolves today and some may say that’s a little bit unfair but I had a feeling that he’d cope OK, and he coped better than OK – he’s going to be a real good player for us…Scotty’s a bit of a unique case because he’s only been with us a couple of weeks, but Kevin Muscat’s spent a lot of time with him these last two weeks just telling him what our expectation of a full-back role is.
“Our youth team’s going really well and there’s a couple more there that we’ll throw up at some stage this year because I really believe we’ve got some good young players at the football club. Most of the youth team boys train with us every day. And I think that helps us.”
Postecoglou will need to invest in Melbourne’s Youth League side to have any chance at catching Central Coast. Up next is a match with Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide on Feb. 8.