Muscat hails his troops after remarkable Grand Final triumph
Proud Melbourne Victory boss Kevin Muscat is in awe of the way his side overcame countless “adversities, challenges and obstacles” to become Hyundai A-League Champions.
Victory’s title – courtesy of Saturday night’s 1-0 win over Newcastle Jets – was built more on spirit and resolve than the free-flowing, attacking football normally associated with the club.
Muscat’s men endured a slow start to the season - winless after six rounds – and were in danger of missing the Finals Series at the turn of the year.
The Victory boss was also under pressure from his own fans due to the team’s malaise, with the season threatening to derail.
But incredibly, they managed to put all that aside and turn the season around, becoming the first team in the Hyundai A-League to win the title from fourth place.
"The amount of adversities, challenges and obstacles that we had to jump, it's been phenomenal," Muscat said.
"I don't think it's been highlighted enough because I tend to not bring them up or talk about it because it's just perceived as excuses.
"It's something I'm not really comfortable with, making excuses. So instead we just stared the challenges down one by one and got ourselves to a point where, towards the back end of the season, we got some continuity and belief started building.
"And as the season came to a close, we were just getting stronger and stronger. To come from fourth - I understand that hasn't been done before - and win an away grand final isn't easy."
The title was Victory’s fourth in 13 seasons, making them the most successful club in Hyundai A-League history.
Muscat also becomes the fourth coach to win the Hyundai A-League championship for a second time, joining Ange Postecoglou, Graham Arnold and Jets boss Ernie Merrick.
"I choose this profession and it's not easy, it's bloody hard. I choose this profession and know everything that comes with it,” Muscat said.
"We weren't travelling well after eight rounds and it was a period of time where we had some frank discussions...we were the only ones with belief we'd be able to do something.
"The fact we've done it so hard, travelling away to Sydney and Newcastle to reach this pinnacle. It's outstanding and one that shouldn't be underestimated."