Milligan heaps praise on Susaeta after Spanish star inspires Macarthur win over Sydney
Markel Susaeta is only getting started, said Macarthur FC captain Mark Milligan after the Spaniard starred in the 1-0 win against Sydney FC.
Susaeta’s spell-binding dribble from the Bulls’ left wing ended with Matt Derbyshire adding the simplest of tap-ins from the edge of the six-yard box to net the only goal at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
The 33-year-old, who played more than 500 games for Athletic Bilbao and was capped by Spain in 2012, made his A-League bow for Melbourne City last year but cut his stay short when the COVID-19 pandemic caused the season to be suspended.
After returning down under with competition newcomers Macarthur FC in December, less than a month before the start of the season, ex-Socceroo Milligan believes the best is still to come from Susaeta as he continues get up to speed.
"He’s getting better every week. We see it every day at training," Milligan told FOX Sports.
"He hasn’t played in a long time and I think people take it a little bit for granted.
"COVID last year affected a lot of players. There was not a lot of football so he’s just becoming more comfortable.
"He’s a fantastic player and that’s just a glimpse of what he’s able to do."
Starting at centre-back in Ante Millicic's side, Milligan admits that the victory against the defending champions could have been a lot more comfortable following Paulo Retre's 38th-minute red card.
But, coming off a 4-1 hammering at the hands of Western United last week, Milligan revealed the Bulls were conscious about conceding more goals on the counter – something that was the primary focus of their midweek preparation for the clash against the Sky Blues.
"We would have liked a few more goals but it was just very important that we controlled the ball," Milligan added.
"We were very aware of our transitions after last week against Western [United], and we know how dangerous Sydney can be.
"We wanted to keep moving the ball, obviously we would have like to score more and make it a little bit easier towards the end but it’s a good result away from home."
Sydney captain Alex Wilkinson was left ruing missed opportunities after the home side dominated the opening half an hour, and even saw more chances pass them by with a player disadvantage.
"Frustrating night. I think we were by far the better team in the first half," Wilkinson said.
"Created so many chances and then failed to defend a set-piece properly and you’re down 1-0.
"Obviously the red card didn’t help but I thought we still did alright in the second half as well. We had a few sniffs and a few half-chances.
"They didn’t create much at all so we’re pretty disappointed."
Next fixtures – Matchweek 11
Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC
Saturday, 6 March 2021
Venue: Moreton Daily Stadium
Kick-off: 5.05pm AEDT
Central Coast Mariners v Macarthur FC
Monday, 8 March 2021
Venue: Central Coast Stadium
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEDT
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