Melbourne Victory playmaker Gui Finkler says the first 20 minutes of Sunday’s Hyundai A-League Grand Final made a statement and set-up Victory’s emphatic 3-0 win over Sydney FC.
Speaking at the club’s public appearance at Federation Square on Monday, the 29-year-old Brazilian said the Big V were at the Sky Blues from Jarred Gillett's first whistle.
Sydney FC star Mickael Tavares suggested it was more a case of having an off day rather than Victory’s play that decided the contest.
“I think we won the game in the first 20 minutes,” he told www.a-league.com.au.
“We pressed high and we didn’t let them touch the ball as much as they’d love to.
“We showed from the first minute we really wanted to win the game.
“As I said before the game in the interview, who will be the more hungry will win the game. And we were more hungry than them.”
The loss of Sydney FC’s central defender Jacques Faty was another contributing factor.
“It’s not so good to have to change [players] so early in the game. I think we had a lot of positive points from that [change] and we just kept pushing forward," said Finkler.
And the journeyman Brazilian echoed coach Kevin Muscat’s view that this was a Championship almost a year in the planning.
“In pre-season we decided we wanted to score more goals than any other team and we wanted to win the Grand Final.
“Yesterday we got out rewards. It was a special night for us,” Finkler said.
Victory are now clearly the biggest club in Australia. But being a Continental powerhouse is something Finkler sees as the logical next step.
“Western Sydney did it, why not us,” he said when asked about the 2016 Asian Champions League.
Around 250 Victory fans turned up to see their heroes interviewed on stage before the squad signed autographs and took selfies with the blue and white faithful.
On stage, striker Besart Berisha told the crowd it was a better feeling than winning a Grand Final with Brisbane and professed "love" for his Victory teammates.
Coach Kevin Muscat added the wait had been “a long time” since Victory’s last Championship.
And despite some Victory players doing their best Graham Arnold impersonations, Muscat refused to be drawn on the issue of motivation after images of Arnold’s disparaging quotes stuck up on Victory’s change-room walls at AAMI Park on Sunday.
“This group needs no motivation,” Muscat said. “We made a commitment to each other a long time ago. I couldn’t be happier and prouder of these players.”
Hero and scorer of the third goal Leigh Broxham was in a relaxed mood on stage.
He said it was a similar feeling to the last Championship in 2009 and at one point attempted to interview host Michael Zappone.
On the day after doing the domestic double, clearly winners were grinners.