Ange Postecoglou’s Melbourne Victory have another thing coming if they consider themselves a serious contender to win anything this season in the Hyundai A-League.
Their 3-2 defeat to the Perth Glory, in which Josh Risdon became the latest in a slew of players to demolish an already-decapitated Victory backline off the counterattack, is a classic example of an above-average ball club that may merely be going through the motions.
One of the players that is not making the grade this seas is attacker Marcos Flores, who did little to help his cause on Saturday night.
“From our perspective it was probably a two-week injury that got out to three weeks because he had a little bit of setback so it’s not like we are fast tracking him, it’s gone according to plan and he feels okay,” Postecoglou told Robert Somers for melbournevictory.com.au.
When asked of the Glory’s chances, Postcoglou believes that the tide may be turning in their favor.
“I think they have changed their style of game, which naturally happens when a new coach comes in,” the Victory manager said. “But with them still being a chance of making finals I don’t expect anything too radical happening now.
“Alistair (Edwards) signing for three years gives them some real direction now and stability moving forward. His main priority will be to get his team into the finals to give his fans something to cheer about. So we’ve got to make sure we are at our best tomorrow to keep our own form going.
“You don’t want to go into finals having any doubts about form or having a flat spot. If we get continuation of our last three weeks we will be in pretty good shape.”
A solid crowd was on hand at AAMI Park in Melbourne, as predicted by goalkeeper Nathan Coe, who had an awful night in goal for the Victory.
“We love playing in front of our home support at AAMI where we get a great atmosphere,” Coe said on Tuesday to Omnisport for melbournevictory.com.au. “It is the last home game of the regular season as well so it is important we get a real good turnout and we can put on a good show for them before heading into the finals.”
So much for that. A refund would be a better option.
Despite goals from Adrian Leijer in the 13th minute and Chris Cristaldo in the 89th minute, the Victory were undone with goals from Chris Harold in the 21st minute, Travis Dodd in the 38th minute and Risdon in the third minute of second-half stoppage time. To add insult to downright insulting defending from Melbourne, Jesse Makarounas’s season is over after he tore a hamstring in the second half.
In the A-League, teams that merely elect to go through the motions and not make an effort to press the opposition and have a backline that is truly diabolical in defending deserve to have no chance at a place in the Grand Final.
Melbourne Victory is an example of team that is making a costly mistake in electing to go through the motions. Not even a rout of Wellington Phoenix next week can save this team’s championship aspirations if their midfielders and backline surrender goals with relative ease.
The hope for Postecoglou was that starters such as Archie Thompson and Mark Milligan would be rested against Wellington. Unfortunately, all hands will have to be on deck. And for the Victory boss, there is no exception after an thoroughly excuseless display by his club on Saturday.