Victory not giving up hope

Caretaker Melbourne Victory coach Mehmet Durakovic is adamant that the A-League club's AFC Champions League campaign is not over despite a second consecutive loss to start the group stage.

Caretaker Melbourne Victory coach Mehmet Durakovic is adamant that the A-League club's AFC Champions League campaign is not over despite a second consecutive loss to start the group stage.

Melbourne gave up a lead to lose 2-1 against Jeju United, consigning them to the bottom of Group E in another setback for a club whose foundation coach, Ernie Merrick, departed the club on Saturday.

But despite the strong likelihood that the traditional A-League powerhouse will fall in the group stages of the ACL for the third time in as many attempts, Durakovic remains positive that Victory will turn it around, starting with the away clash against Tianjin Teda in China on April 5.

"I'm really positive the next four games we'll go out there and give it all we've got and I can only ask for our guys to do our best," Durakovic said.

"We'll work on the pitch, we'll work on our fitness, we'll work on our sharpness and the structure that I want to play. They boys just have to be fit."

Durakovic will spend the next three weeks working on the fitness and sharpness of his team after they were found out for pace, touch and organisation against Jeju United.

"I'm just disappointed with the set piece and a mistake and it's cost us the game," he said.

It was a match Melbourne could have easily won if they had finished better. Influential midfielder Carlos Hernandez played a major role when he came on in the last half an hour and Durakovic believes he will be fit to play 90 minutes against Tianjin.

"We'll work Carlos really hard on the pitch and, barring injuries, Carlos has a big part to play in this team," he said.

"Carlos is coming back to his peak fitness and to be honest, when he came on, he performed really well. When he came on, he changed the game, his passing is phenomenal."

Jeju United coach Park Gyeong-Hoon felt his team were firmly back in the running to progress from the group after rebounding from their shock opening loss to Tianjin at home.

"That first result against Tianjin set us back but we've worked hard to fight back and we got a great result here," he said.

"We only had three days since our last game in the K-League, yet our players looked fresh and inspired out there tonight. We came here to get all three points and got exactly what we wanted."

Park was particularly pleased that the many hours of research his coaching staff had done on Melbourne had paid dividends.

"We had a look at a lot of their previous game. The No.21 (Robbie Kruse) is a very good player, but was not playing tonight, so we knew we had a good chance. We concentrated on preventing the ball coming from the midfield to the attacking players and did that very well," he said.

Park was also pleased that his club's younger players had stepped up to the mark after several of Jeju's best players were forced to remain at home with injuries and suspension. He singled out 22-year-old attacker Lee Hyun-Ho, who scored the decisive goal with six minutes remaining.

"With all the players we had to leave behind, the pressure was on these young players to show us what they can do. They did a great job. It was an energetic performance and one I am very proud of," he said.