A relieved Archie Thompson feels Melbourne Victory is ‘back on track’ after snapping their five-game winless run by beating Newcastle Jets on Sunday.
The defending champions won their first match in the Hunter in more than six years thanks to Fahid Ben Khalfallah’s clinical finish 19 minutes from time.
While it was far from a vintage display from Victory, the three points is all that matters after a tumultuous month of results.
“We knew our statistics weren’t great coming here but to do it like we did…it was a great team performance after what’s been a tough couple of weeks,” Thompson told ABC Radio.
“We worked hard. We knew they [Jets] were going to come out on their home patch and do well so I’m really proud of the lads.
“We’re right in the mix. Our performances haven’t been bad just the results.
“But we finally got the win and now we’re back on track.”
After a strong start by the visitors, they struggled to mount concerted pressure on the Jets defence, with Thompson conceding the long streak without a win made the side edgy.
In the end it took a superb counter-attack to get the breakthrough, with Kosta Barbarouses putting the ball on a plate for Ben Khalfallah to slot in his first goal of the campaign.
“As the game went on we got a little bit tense but we’ve know we’ve got enough quality to win games,” he said.
“That counter was beautiful, a great ball from (Barbarouses) and there was a number of times in the first half too.
“We knew we had to get the ball out (wide) and isolate their wingers as much as possible and we did that to a tee.
“We weren’t as clinical as we would like to be or usually are in front of goal but we got the win and we’re happy.”
It was Thompson’s first start of the season after missing the majority of the first half of the season as he recovered from a knee injury.
While he admits his “lungs were hurting” as he came off after almost 70 minutes, the ageless attacker says he’s delighted to be back in the fold.
“I’m still trying to find my feet…that was my first 60-odd minutes in three months,” 37-year-old Thompson said.
“I was happy to get some game time and now we’re just looking forward to playing Central Coast [Mariners] in Geelong on Friday.
“It’s a short-turnaround but it’s nothing new for us. We have to prepare because this next couple of months we have (the ACL).”
Victory’s depth is sure to be tested in the next few weeks with five players – Jason Geria, Thomas Deng, Connor Pain, Giancarlo Gallifuoco and Scott Galloway absent on Olyroos duty.