Bleiberg defends defensive display

Miron Bleiberg has defended Gold Coast United’s largely defensive display in their 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.

Miron Bleiberg has defended Gold Coast United’s largely defensive display in their 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.

Asked if it was the perfect ‘smash and grab’ win after the match, which was decided by Rody Vargas’ 55th-minute own goal, Bleiberg was quick to point to the previous battle between the two clubs at Skilled Park when the hosts dominated for long periods but Melbourne prevailed by the same score.

“You know what I expected this question and I said ‘hold yourself don’t get upset’ but I’ve started getting upset,” Bleiberg said.

“Melbourne Victory came to the Gold Coast and they scored one goal … and then 70 minutes they were under pressure … and no one complained that it was smash and grab, (they said it was) the revival of the Victory.”

“I can’t remember too much criticism, or not enough to my liking (but) every dog has its day so they got back what they did to us.”

Bleiberg was so buoyed by the display because the absence of frontline stars Bruce Djite, John Curtis, Tahj Minniecon and James Brown meant he had to throw in youngsters Ben Halloran and Chris Harold and put other players in less familiar roles.

“So when you come with four missing players and you put in two youngsters with little experience in the A-League … you can’t expect us to come here and to play good football,” he added.

“You have to play a tactical game, play to your strength, eliminate Melbourne’s strengths.”

“I’m proud that we’re organised and we did what we needed to do.”

“We’ve got a good goalkeeper and good defence and very flexible defence.”

“And I think with the team we had it makes it an even greater achievement.”

Having joined third-placed Central Coast on 21 points, although the Mariners have a game in hand and a superior goal difference, Bleiberg knows that it’s a long campaign and that plenty can happen between now and season’s end but he’s quietly confident.

“I like you media because you’re all experts, we coaches don’t know what we’re doing and the players don’t know what they’re doing,” Bleiberg said.

“Before the season started if I did a survey and asked who would win the championship probably you would say Sydney … then after Round 3 nothing else but Perth, the title goes to Perth (and) then after Round 5 or 6 who is going to catch Adelaide, it’s not going to happen.”

“Now bloody Brisbane Roar.”

“I’m waiting for you to say Gold Coast in Round 29 and that’s it it’s all done.”

“Did you ever see teams winning the championship in November?”

“(As) The Rolling Stones (sang), time is on my side.”

Now eight points behind ladder leaders Brisbane Roar but with two games in hand and only two points adrift of Adelaide United, Bleiberg has nominated those teams and Victory as the teams to beat even if he does give his own side a strong hope as well.

“I think that still Gold Coast we are happy that we countered one of the top teams in the competition but I think that at the moment Adelaide and Brisbane deserve to be where they are and I think that Melbourne Victory always will be there around and that’s it,” he said.

“We’re happy to be in this company, don’t forget that they all existed from day one of the A-League and then we’re just new boys.”

“We’re happy with what we are and what we’re doing.”