Victory's defence a worry

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick was pleased his attacking mindset worked on Friday against Perth Glory, but conceding goals from set plays remains a problem.

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick was pleased his attacking mindset worked on Friday against Perth Glory, but conceding goals from set plays remains a problem.

Merrick set up with the likes of Archie Thompson, Danny Allsopp, Carlos Hernandez and Ney Fabiano in attacking positions, but they only broke through for one goal in the first half before losing 2-1. Merrick felt it was his defence that was the problem, not the attack.

"We dominated the first half, created some really good chances and their goalkeeper made some terrific saves. That was the best we've played in a long time, but we conceded a cheap goal from a set play and nobody yet has worked out why the free-kick was given against us," Merrick said.

"Our marking was poor in the box, but we got back on track after the ninth minute and again in the second half gave up another cheap goal. We create a few chances, but it wasn't to be and Perth defended very well."

"You can't play matches and not score several goals when you have chances like that otherwise you are going to pay the price, and we did that. It seems like we are always playing catch up football and we are making a habit out of giving up a cheap goal early, and that's not good enough."

Despite being dominant champions last season, Melbourne lost both games in Perth and as a result Merrick wanted to come in with a different mindset. He certainly did that and was happy that it worked, but not the result.

"I wasn't going to die wondering how to win here because it's been two years since we have. I wasn't worried about that because it worked a treat, but when you concede goals the way we did it's not good enough. That was because of certain defensive moves," he said.

"The set plays are a concern more than anything else. Defending them is something we've definitely worked on and we will look at it again."

"It was a good game of football, we should have got more out of it and at least a draw, so I'm not going to go away too disappointed but we have to start getting points on the board win games."

The Victory has the next two games at home against Newcastle and Wellington, and Merrick is confident it will bring results. Defender Matthew Kemp will return, but Hernandez will miss the game with the Jets due to a World Cup qualifier with Costa Rica.

"It's always a big bonus for us and we play really well at home. We've got to get a win at home, though, and it's all about picking up results and points. We've lost no players through injury from this game, but we've lost Carlos Hernandez," he said.

"We've got the squad to cover that and it's a marathon season. We lost two full backs for this game and thankfully Kempy's wife Steph has had her baby, so he will be available from now on and he's been worried about that the last 17 weeks. They are a happy couple with their first child."

Billy Celeski was brilliant in the first half against his former side, but the Glory shut him down in the second. He is confident Melbourne can get back on track in the next fortnight.

"I wouldn't put it down to anything too specific. We prepare well for the travel and the way we go about it when we come over here, but I just think we didn't take our chances. We have to work on that when we get back to Melbourne," Celeski said.

"They pushed midfielders onto myself and then when they went 2-1 up they dropped a lot of players behind the ball. That made it difficult for us to get balls into the penalty to create chances."