Victory on the rise
Melbourne Victory's recent character-defining wins show that Ange Postecoglou’s men are on course to becoming serious title contenders come season’s end.
Good teams, they say, find a way to win. Manchester United has built a history of success on it. So too has Brisbane Roar, albeit on a smaller scale, but nonetheless a true exponent of the old adage during its era of A-League dominance.
For obvious reasons, it-s not possible to compare Melbourne Victory with clubs that have tasted success on a grand scale.
What is comparable, however, are those character-defining wins that successful teams experience, and given Victory have chalked up a number of such wins during the current campaign, Ange Postecoglou-s men are on course to becoming a serious title contender come season-s end.
To become successful, teams must learn to win in a variety of situations. And if the nature of Victory-s wins against Sydney FC, Western Sydney Wanderers and more recently Melbourne Heart is any indication, Victory are learning very quickly.
In Round 6, Victory came from two goals down to beat Sydney FC 3-2 at Allianz Stadium. On their second road trip to Sydney in Round 8, they played with 10 men for 75 minutes to comprehensively beat the Wanderers 2-0. And against cross-town rivals Heart, Victory packed three points into their sack ahead of the Christmas break when they didn-t even deserve one.
It-s an obvious sign of the team-s growing maturity and impressive evolution under Postecoglou. With the squad-s development set to continue, there-s little doubt Victory will be the team others would love to avoid.
As Postecoglou claimed after the Melbourne Derby, winning such games “builds belief” amongst the playing group. “It happened at Brisbane and it's happening here,” he added.
History clearly illustrates what belief did for Brisbane. Two A-League Grand Finals were won on the back of last gasp heroics in matches Roar firmly had their backs stapled to the wall. But the Roar-s spirit and endeavor couldn-t be denied, not only in those two games, but in several matches during the club's two-year dominance.
Against Heart, Victory-s epic winner embodied those same characteristics. Kevin Muscat claims Victory controlled the Melbourne Derby “for long periods”.
Statistics suggest otherwise, with the possession stats firmly in favour of Heart 54 per cent-46 per cent, along with shots on goal (17-12), corners (13-1) and the number of clear-cut goalscoring opportunities.
What isn-t questionable is the character and endeavour of the Victory players, fuelled by a genuine belief that they can win in any situation and against any opponent.
Muscat went on to reveal that it-s Postecoglou-s aura that “makes people believe”. If they don-t already, it won-t be long until Melbourne Victory starts believing it can win the whole thing.