Muscat points to fast start as Victory hold firm in the West
Melbourne Victory manager Kevin Muscat says his team’s first goal in their 2-0 win over Perth Glory was crucial in achieving the final result.
Victory shocked the Premiers-in-waiting at HBF Park on Saturday night with goals from foreign duo Ola Toivonen and Keisuke Honda stunning the Glory faithful.
Speaking post-match Muscat said Toivonen’s opener, a spectacular free-kick, ultimately allowed for Victory to dictate terms.
“Fantastic result and very well earnt against a team that's had a very good season, fantastic season,” he said.
“We knew we would have to earn anything we get from here and I thought we played with some real courage and real heart and were good for our three points.
“The huge difference tonight was scoring first for us. In previous games, we went behind and it helps the way they play and they're very good at it, suffocating that game.
“To score the first tonight and then apply pressure in the appropriate moments and I thought we defended resolutely as well so, we earnt everything we got tonight."
Muscat said it was a group effort from his team who have had their fair share of injuries to contend with, holding on despite countless attacking raids from the home side.
"I want to be a team that just goes out and attacks and wants to create chances, but we knew where we were as a team,” Muscat said of Victory’s defensive tactics.
“Georg [Niedermeier] has come back into the team after recent weeks, Ola the same in terms of minutes, Carl [Valeri], James Donachie, Terry Antonis, so we'd been working very hard over the last two weeks.
“We knew where we were and adjusted accordingly and the players executed very well tonight."
Graceful in defeat
Glory manager Tony Popovic was reflective after a game that saw his side rack up 61 per cent possession and a staggering 22 shots for no return.
"It was just one of those days," he said diplomatically.
"We have to congratulate Victory; they came and got what they wanted and go home with the points tonight.
"But I thought overall the performance was very good. We created numerous opportunities and it was just a day when the ball wouldn't fall for us. It just wouldn't go in and their keeper made some great saves.
"We've had many good days here and in terms of performance, today was not a bad day.”