Thwaite injury concern
Gold Coast United boss Miron Bleiberg has revealed the reason why his side sat back in the second half of their 3-1 victory over Sydney FC – an ankle complaint from Egypt-bound Qantas Socceroo Michael Thwaite.
Gold Coast United boss Miron Bleiberg has revealed the reason why his side sat back in the second half of their 3-1 victory over Sydney FC - an ankle complaint from Egypt-bound Qantas Socceroo Michael Thwaite.
Bleiberg said although it affected the versatile defender's mobility, it wasn't enough of an issue to necessitate a substitution - particularly given Thwaite's responsibility at the heart of United's defence - and he believes he should be 100 percent for this week's friendly.
"Jason (Culina) probably doesn't want to reveal the secret but Michael Thwaite was uncomfortable a bit on his ankle so we stayed back a bit in the second half," he said.
"He was still sound in the air but he wasn't as quick as possible, so I didn't want to take him off because in corners and set pieces is the only way Sydney were going to score and he's good with the high balls."
"If we hadn't conceded a goal I would have taken him and Jason off in the 75th minute and wished them all the best but 3-1 is a risky score, because one more goal and it's 3-2 and you start panicking."
"It's not serious - it's one of those ankle injuries you feel a bit during the game. If we was a winger I'd tell him come off, undo your strapping, we'll strap it again or whatever, but a central defender, I didn't want to take him off. I don't think there's any problems with him."
Bleiberg, although happy with securing the three points against the reigning champions, was disappointed with his side's second half but noted the tendency of successful sides to overcome their own bad performances to win matches.
"I'm not impressed with our second half but that's the sign of a good team - if you play not to the best of your ability and you still win comfortably 3-1 with no danger of losing, then we should feel proud to beat the reigning champions so comfortably," he said.
"I'm not happy that we conceded but I'm happy we scored three good goals, each was better than the next."
"The goal that we conceded - it's interesting, we've conceded eight goals in 13 games and according to my calculation only three of these goals, including today, were from open play. The rest were from free kicks, set pieces and corners, which shows how sound we are and how strong the foundations that we have set are."
"Funnily enough, in the end even though we were on the back foot we had three or four clear chances. When we want we can create and play smooth passing. We have enough talent and substance to do whatever we like. When we want to defend, we defend. Last year, we just wanted to attack."
In terms of the bigger picture of the rest of the season, Bleiberg is pleased with where his side is at, particularly given Joel Porter's 10-week hamstring injury and the early departure of sharpshooter Shane Smeltz.
"Considering the Smeltz departure in Round 2, Porter's injury and Bruce Djite's adjustment period, we're doing well. Other teams have had the luxury of a settled line-up but look at Adelaide - when they had Leckie and Van Dijk and everybody they ran like a Swiss clock or whatever you say."
"Now all of a sudden they start to accumulate losses. I don't wish it to Brisbane Roar - you know my attitude, it's a new Roar and I'm very happy for them but let's see what will happen."