Leijer backs Carlos call
Melbourne Victory skipper Adrian Leijer has backed the decision of new coach Mehmet Durakovic to axe star playmaker Carlos Hernandez for Wednesday night’s friendly against Celtic at AAMI Park.
Melbourne Victory skipper Adrian Leijer has backed the decision of new coach Mehmet Durakovic to axe star playmaker Carlos Hernandez for Wednesday night-s friendly against Celtic at AAMI Park.
Hernandez was dropped for disciplinary reasons after arriving back late following a recent trial at MLS club Real Salt Lake.
Leijer admitted he was consulted by Durakovic prior to the call being made on the Costa Rican international for the high-profile showdown against the Scottish giants.
"Everyone knows what happened and we're very disappointed (in Carlos)," Leijer said.
"He's let his team-mates down and now he's got a lot of work to do to get the respect back from his team-mates."
"As players we won't stand for it and as coaches they've shown they won't either."
"I think the club's handled it well, they've handled him the right way and at the end of the day it's not good enough."
Leijer remains hopeful Hernandez will bounce back from his demotion ahead of the Hyundai A-League season, starting in October.
"It's disappointing, but we're all in it together, hopefully he realises the mistake he's made and comes back, and does his best work on the park," Leijer said.
The Hernandez issue has somewhat overshadowed Victory's build-up for the Celtic friendly which has arrived just nine days after the club returned to pre-season training.
Even so, Leijer says the Victory is ready for the opportunity to take on one of world football's well-known names.
"It's a massive experience for all of us, for the younger boys and even the older boys to come up against a club like Celtic," Leijer said.
"We're going into tomorrow night wanting to put on a good show, but it's one week into pre-season so we have to be realistic about the way we're going to play."
"I'm confident in the boys and we really want to put on a good performance."
Leijer is likely to get the job of stopping Celtic's Greek marksman Georgios Samaras, a job that could put him back in the European shop window.
Having already experienced a stint at English Premier League club Fulham, Leijer knows the score in Europe and just wants to focus on his leadership role at Victory, and shutting down Samaras.
"At the end of the day he's a footballer, I'm a footballer and we'll go at it to see who comes out best," Leijer said.
"It's great for everyone to have the opportunity to play against players like him and they've got some very good players in their squad."
"It's going to be exciting and tough, but we'll enjoy it."