Melbourne Victory coach Jim Magilton feels that he is finally getting his players playing the style of football he wants after the Victory's campaign for a spot in the top six took a significant positive step with a 2-1 win over top-of-the-table Central Coast Mariners.
It may have taken six matches, but Melbourne Victory coach Jim Magilton feels that he is finally getting his players playing the style of football he wants after the Victory's campaign for a spot in the top six took a significant positive step with a 2-1 win over top-of-the-table Central Coast Mariners.
Victory produced their best performance for some time, resulting in a fifth win for the season and enabling them to move within touching distance of a spot in the finals after a spluttering campaign to date.
While not totally convinced that this match will prove the turning point he has been so desperately searching for, Magilton does feel the players are finally getting a hold on what he expects of them.
"A lot this is how I want us to play. We've picked the bones out of how I don't want us to play. We go a goal behind, we show great character, again, building on last week," he said.
"We're still very much a work in progress but training has been lively, there has been a good feeling, we talked about the positives we took from last week and the players built on that."
"I think we made a lot of right decisions tonight and that is through consistent messages at training."
After being criticised for fielding a team short of midfield quality, Magilton made the most dramatic shuffle up of his reign when he brought Carlos Hernandez back into the side and asked Mark Milligan to step into a defensive midfield role.
Milligan's composure and Hernandez's distribution and power made for a much improved performance, but Magilton knows that with a trip away to champions Brisbane awaiting, the momentum built from this result can quickly dissipate.
"I hope I'm standing here in five or six games and we've won all of them. While I am absolutely delighted, there is no rest up, there is no let up," he said.
"We've got to go again and produce another performance like that at Brisbane. They are flying, but we've got in the team, I hope a belief flowing through it, and a confidence flowing through at the moment."
After a five-match run without a win, captain Adrian Leijer said Victory were now presented with an opportunity to re-light what has been until now an inconsistent season.
"This is what we have to build on and if you look at the past four games, we should have won three of them. To beat the top team is a huge confidence boost for us. They are a very good side and we should take a lot out of that game," the defender said.
"We are starting to play the way the gaffer wants us to play and it's not perfect but it's a huge step in the right direction and it's a confidence builder."
Where much of the confidence is being built is among the young players, with Marco Rojas and Petar Franjic getting an extended run in the starting line-up, while Friday saw Jimmy Jeggo make his first Hyundai A-League start.
But Magilton sees his decision to look to youth as far from a punt.
"I've always been that sort of manager," Magilton said.
"I've not been afraid to take what other people may say are risks, I don't see that. I work with these lads everyday and for me it's an opportunity for them."
"That's the way I've managed, and if I can get as many of them as I can and get that experience, that's what I am going to do."