Muscat urges Victory to address troubling scoreline trend
Melbourne Victory's winless streak stretched to four matches with Saturday night's 2-0 defeat to Newcastle Jets and Kevin Muscat admitted it's time for a fix to be found.
Goals from Johnny Koutroumbis and Dimitri Petratos in Geelong snared Newcastle their first win outside New South Wales since March 2018 and left Victory four points outside the top two.
The Champions' stuttering February form continued in their first match of March and highlighted a worrying sequence which has suddenly become commonplace.
So assured throughout the early months of the campaign, Victory have now conceded the opening goal in five consecutive Hyundai A-League fixtures.
They succeeded in overcoming a two-goal deficit away to struggling Central Coast Mariners a month ago but are now paying a heavy toll for the early breaches that have underpinned the club's recent poor results.
"Something has got to shift," head coach Kevin Muscat told Fox Sports after the GMHBA Stadium upset.
"If we continue playing the way we're playing and conceding first, you make it really difficult for yourself.
"I think [the opening goal] was the all-important one tonight because [Newcastle] started with a back five with a clear intention to sit in and allow us to dominate possession.
"The possession numbers must be crazy, but it's irrelevant at the end of the day because we've lost 2-0."
The emerging trend is particularly troubling in view of the difficulties Victory have encountered in attempting to bounce back from falling behind.
The Round 17 triumph at Central Coast Stadium is the only time this season Muscat's men have prevailed after conceding the first goal, having done so on eight occasions.
And, with just one win from the past 12 home matches in which they've trailed at half-time, Finals Series hosting rights will count for little unless strong starts again become the status quo.