Muscat plays down Berisha reaction in ACL win

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat is unconcerned about the reaction of star striker Besart Berisha when he was substituted during last night’s 1-0 win over Kawasaki Frontale.

The Hyundai A-League’s all-time leading goalscorer was visibly frustrated when he was replaced with 70 minutes gone in the ACL clash at AAMI Park.

bes

“Last time I checked, it’s a football team,” said Muscat afterwards.

“No-one is happy when they come off.

“I'm more interested about what the ones who come on are going to do.

“Kenny (Athiu) done very, very well prior to the goal he played Kosta in and it came back out and we started again.

“Chrissy (Theoharous) influenced the game, contributed to the game and Josh Hope was great.

“He didn't show any fear, playing with a lot of freedom so the contribution from the boys who came on was exactly what's required for the team and that's what I'm interested in more,” Muscat said.

The game looked set for a stalemate before Kosta Barbarouses fired home the game’s only goal in the final minute of regulation time.

kosta

Muscat was pleased with how his side managed the game to keep their chances of progress to the knockout rounds alive.

“I think early on we're playing against a very good team and we had to defend and defend well,” said Muscat.

“They were very, very energetic in that first half and the defending wasn't the issue.

“The issue was we couldn't retain the first pass when we dispossessed them because they're very good at pressing immediately upon giving the ball away or when we take it off them.

“As the game wore on, I think we came to grips with that and the speed and intensity of their pressure and we hurt them and made them defend numerous times.

“If you want to describe that persistent pressure, the last 20, 25 minutes, it was relentless and it's a credit to the group."