Victory attitude has Merrick smiling

Melbourne Victory's 1-0 win on Sunday won't go down as the most aesthetically pleasing performance, but their defensive shut-out of Gold Coast United showed the win-first attitude that has made the club successful in the Hyundai A-League.

Melbourne Victory's 1-0 win on Sunday won't go down as the most aesthetically pleasing performance, but their defensive shut-out of Gold Coast United showed the win-first attitude that has made the club successful in the Hyundai A-League.

Finalists last season, the Victory came to Skilled Park without a win in the first three rounds of this season, and after squandering leads against Sydney and North Queensland, Ernie Merrick's men showed a greater composure to hold their early advantage this time out.

"It's never an easy game. We were just happy that we controlled the game from the position," Merrick said.

"We ground it out which was important and it was a clean sheet."

"We've (lost an early lead) a couple of times, we did it against Sydney as well (as North Queensland)," said Merrick.

After taking the lead in the 20th minute through a fine goal to Robbie Kruse, the visiting side remained on the attack until returning from the interval with a reset their formation and a clear plan to defend their lead with almost every man goal-side of the ball.

And while opposition coach Miron Bleiberg said that Melbourne killed the game with their tactics, it was fully intended as a compliment to the Victory's intelligent approach rather than a criticism of the strategy.

"When you play against an experienced defence like Melbourne Victory's they wait to get 1-0 up then they kill the game."

"Their experienced players at the back were better than our youngsters up front and that's the name of the game," he said.

Defender Michael Thwaite was another in the Gold Coast camp paying tribute to the win-at-all-costs mentality of the Victory who would have been under serious pressure had they again missed the opportunity to convert a lead into three-competition points.

"Melbourne were a smart team, they're not going to keep attacking us," Thwaite said.

"They parked the bus and got the three points - smart team, smart coach, all respect to them."

"If we were 1-0 up we'd do the same thing."

After conceding seven goals in their opening three matches, the Victory's first clean sheet of the season was a clear source of pride for Merrick, who attributed their ability to hold on to hard work through the week on defending set-plays.

"We've done a lot on our set plays, because up until today we'd conceded seven goals but four of them were from set plays - two frees, a corner and a penalty," he said.

"We really wanted to get our discipline and marking at set plays right and it just worked a treat for us."

"I think a clean sheet was a bit of a bonus."