Ange Postecoglou’s Melbourne Victory were literally sick and tired of losing meaningful games left and right and decided to take their frustrations out on Newcastle Jets.
Who better to lead the way than Archie Thompson, who was sidelined due to injury.
“He was moving pretty well this morning – still got a session to get through,” Postecoglou said after training to Dejan Kalinic for melbournevictory.com.au. “He’s pretty keen to get back amongst it. It’s great to have him back in the side. He’s obviously an important part of what we do, particularly here at home. It’ll be great for our supporters to see him out there again.
“He’s done everything right in terms of the rehab and in terms of the time out. This was always the plan and he’s ticked all those boxes. We’ve still got one session to go. Probably the fact that it’s a Sunday game helps as well but all signs are he’ll be all right.”
The Victory boss believes that if Melbourne can rediscover their form, they will be a force in the postseason. A straightforward conclusion.
“I think form going into finals is the best indicator you’ve got,” Postecoglou added. “From our perspective, whatever’s happened last week or the week before it’s really important the next five weeks we hit our best form of the year.
“If we do that, on the eve of the finals, it gives us the best chance to perform well and win the competition. I think even if we were flying at this stage, my main focus would be to make sure we maintained it right up until the finals series. There’s no point peaking today and not being right when the finals come around.”
To Postecoglou’s delight, the Victory thrashed the Newcastle Jets, 5-0, at AAMI Park. Marco Rojas (8′, 66′) and Mark Milligan (30′ penalty, 57′ penalty) scored braces for Melbourne. Also delivering for the home side was captain Adrian Leijer in the 15th minute.
“It’s as important as any other win I guess. You’re hitting the tail end of the season, heading into finals and it’s very important we get some good form,” Postecoglou told Kalinic. “We’ve had a pretty punishing run of games from pre-Christmas. Every game is a big game for us. We’ve been trying to get up for all these big games week after week.
“We’ve had some injuries and absences that have meant we’ve had to toss things around and brought new players in so it’s been a very tough six or seven weeks but we needed to come out of it. That’s the football club we’re at and it was great to see today, back at home in front of our supporters, we were able to do that.”
In other news, the Victory’s Olympic Park Sports Medicine Centre was inagurated as a FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence on Friday.
“I am very happy to be in Melbourne for the first accredited FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence in Australia. This is a very well established and respected medical institution”, said Professor Jiri Dvorak, FIFA Chief Medical Officer to reporters on Wednesday. “The aim of the worldwide network of FIFA Medical Centres of Excellence is to improve the healthcare of football players and other athletes at every single level of the game through knowledge.”
“The honour of being accredited as Australia’s first FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence is both recognition of the practitioners who make OPSMC a leading multidisciplinary sports medicine centre and a challenge to contribute to the wider football community in education, training, research and quality care,” said OPSMC Director Dr. Andrew Jowett. “We look forward to working with our partners, FFA and the University of Melbourne in achieving these goals. We are excited to further engage our regional neighbours in Asia and Oceania, as well as the wider FIFA network.
“Melbourne holds a proud reputation in the sporting world and OPSMC has been involved in football since our formation 25 years ago including the past 2 FIFA World Cup campaigns, the 2008 Homeless World Cup and the 2000 Olympic Games. Our 3 campuses in Melbourne provide a unique opportunity due to the co-existence of 4 major football codes to share knowledge, experience and improve the care of all footballers through injury prevention, specialist management and rehabilitation.”