The unfinished business driving Victory star Ola Toivonen
Ola Toivonen enjoyed a debut season that will go down in the annals but the Melbourne Victory forward won’t remember it with any fondness.
The 33-year-old Swedish striker lit up the Hyundai A-League with a devastating combination of brains and brawn in 2018/19, and records tumbled at his feet.
Toivonen raced past legendary Victory strikers Besart Berisha and Archie Thompson to post 10 goals quicker than anyone in club history. He scored the club’s 600th goal, the Hyundai A-League’s 5000th goal, and scored 15 in total.
But despite the enormous personal heights he scaled, Toivonen - who scored for Sweden at the 2018 FIFA World Cup - has got a frank assessment of his maiden campaign in Australia.
“Last season was a disappointment,” Toivonen said. “We had a good team but didn’t live up to the expectations.”
Those expectations of clinching a fifth Championship were shattered in a 6-1 Semi Final defeat at the hands of fierce Big Blue rivals Sydney FC, a harrowing end to the campaign, and the final bow for captain Carl Valeri, Japanese star Keisuke Honda, Kiwi forward Kosta Barbarouses and coach Kevin Muscat.
Muscat – who gave the club 14 years of service as a player, assistant-coach and then coach – has since been replaced in the dugout by ex-Adelaide United boss Marco Kurz.
The German arrives in Melbourne aiming to return Victory back to the Hyundai A-League summit
“He’s a good coach, and a good man,” Toivonen said of the former Bundesliga taskmaster.
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“If we’re not talking football he seems like a good man and he’s taking responsibility of the guys in the team.
“We are training hard, and he likes to train hard, so we’re going to be fit for the season. It gets confirmed what you thought about him when you were playing against him, so that’s nice.
Victory kick off the new campaign against rivals Melbourne City in Round 1.
“It’s a nice game to start the new season with a derby and fill Marvel Stadium to maximum capacity,” said Toivonen.
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