Milicic: Derbyshire impacting Bulls' fortunes with more than goals alone
Macarthur FC head coach Ante Milicic says striker Matt Derbyshire's impact on his squad has gone far beyond his impressive goalscoring haul throughout his maiden A-League season.
The Englishman scored goals 11 and 12 of his impressive 2020/21 campaign to help Macarthur to a 3-1 win over Melbourne Victory on Friday night. The result sent his side momentarily into the top two, but more importantly strengthened the Bulls' grip on a Finals Series place.
After his star striker put on yet another match-winning display against Victory, Bulls boss Milicic said his impact stretches far further than end-product alone as the experienced spearhead helps to inspire success both on and off the field in Campbelltown.
MATCH REPORT: Victory lack clinical edge in 3-1 loss to Bulls
"He’s been excellent," Milicic told reporters after the 3-1 win over Victory.
"I’ve mentioned it a few times in the season - everyone talks about his goals, but his numbers are phenomenal.
"He works constantly, he starts our press, he’s vocal in the change room, he always wants to score, he helps the young boys, he’s excellent for the young boys that have been given opportunities around our football club.
"He got what he deserved tonight: two well-taken goals, and he’s pleased but we expect that, and he expects that from himself.
"He’s a quality striker, and his career has shown that."
Milicic added: "I don’t really read as much as I probably should, I just focus on preparing my own team against the upcoming opponent.
But what I will say is he’s very highly regarded at our football club, and amongst his teammates.
We all appreciate the work that he does for us on and off the field, and we’re very fortunate to have him in the A-League I believe."
Macarthur clinched their second win on the bounce with the 3-1 result against Victory to increase the likelihood of the A-League new boys featuring in the Finals Series this season.
The Bulls have often leaned on Derbyshire's knack for finding the back of the net to clinch points throughout the season - it may prove enough to get Macarthur into the Finals Series campaign, but how deep can it take them into the post-season?
Derbyshire has scored over 40% of his side's goals (12 of 29) to date this season, with the second-highest Macarthur scorer on just three to date (Markel Susaeta).
Milicic admits the thin scoring spread is of concern leading toward the Finals Series, but says it's a by-product of having younger forwards in his squad getting used to plying their trade at A-League level.
"Yeah, 100% of course (it's a concern)," he said.
"This team has been brought together, a lot of the squad hadn’t played in the A-League last year so that’s how my recruitment turned out.
"Yes, you would expect more goals from wide areas or from the midfield area as well, but it hasn’t turned out that way.
"In the end, we’re giving opportunities and experience to some young players that have shown they can play at this level, they’re only going to get better and I’m sure as time goes by hopefully they can convert all their good play and positioning into goals moving forward."
Perth Glory v Macarthur FC
Sunday, May 23 2021
Venue: HBF Park
Kick-off: 8.15pm AEST
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