Victory not panicking despite consecutive losses

Kevin Muscat played down any suggestions of a Melbourne Victory form slump after his side lost for the second match in a row in the Hyundai A-League on Saturday night.

In a classic top-of-the-table clash at Pirtek Stadium, Victory were sunk by two second half goals as Western Sydney ran out 2-0 winners.

The defeat comes just seven days after an identical result against Wellington Phoenix, with the champions dropping to third on the A-League ladder.

Wanderers topple Victory to consolidate top spot

“It’s disappointing, of course it is, but that performance on another night away from home gets you three points,” Muscat said afterwards.

“We came up against a side [Wanderers] that was good on the night also and in the main moments they took their goals.

Mark Bridge celebrates after scoring the opener against Melbourne Victory.

“We’ve had a little bit of a tough spell, a couple of games away from home and we travel too Perth on Wednesday looking at righting a few wrongs.

“We have to go away and rather than isolate what everyone wants to concede is problems, it’s a great challenge. Winning this competition is not easy and along the way there’s some difficult challenges you have to overcome,” he added.

“It’s our responsibility as a staff to find the solutions for those challenges and then it’s down to the players to implement it.”

Victory certainly had their chances in an even first-half, with Besart Berisha hitting the crossbar, while Kosta Barbarouses also had an effort cleared off the line.

But the second-half belonged to the Wanderers, first Mark Bridge tapping in from Romeo Castelen’s cross before the Dutchman did it all himself 11 minutes from the end.

“Tonight [Castelen] was outstanding and he was probably the difference in the main moments,” Muscat said of the Wanderers winger.

Romeo Castelen on the ball against Melbourne Victory.

“He had a lot of composure on the ball, in and around the box and caused us some problems.”

Muscat felt his side could have defended both goals much better but conceded the Wanderers were the better side on the night.

He denied a heavy recent travel schedule was a factor in their second-half performance, believing they paid the price for those first-half misses.

“Naturally when you don’t apply pressure with a goal…they are always going to come into the game,” Muscat said.

“I thought it was pretty even game of football all night and then in the second half I don’t think too much changed. They got a goal when we had just had a shot that gets saved down the other end and from there they score in transition.

“That’s a bitter pill to swallow for us and it shouldn’t happen.”

Victory is back in action on Wednesday night for their rescheduled clash with the Glory in Perth before returning home for a Melbourne Derby next Saturday.