Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat has criticised star attacker Fahid Ben Khalfallah for the “needless” yellow card that will see the Tunisian miss next Friday’s clash against league leaders Perth Glory in Geelong.
Khalfallah sparkled on the left hand side of the Victory attack on Saturday night as Muscat’s men secured a 1-0 victory over the Newcastle Jets through Gui Finkler’s 85th minute free kick.
But the fifth yellow card of the season accumulated by Khalfallah will see him serve an automatic one match suspension – a punishment that Muscat believes will have an effect on the 32-year-old.
“It’s not possibly needless, it’s definitely needless,” Muscat said of Khalfallah’s discipline slip.
“He puts in a performance like that and we play the best team in the competition next week and unfortunately he is not going to be available.
“He will be pretty upset with himself that he won’t be next week. I’ve had a chat to him and from here on in I will worry about the players that are available.”
While crediting Khalfallah for his electric performance, Muscat reserved praise for the efforts of marquee striker Besart Berisha.
Despite being goalless for the past three games, Berisha’s contribution to the team should be noted, according to Muscat.
“He draws a lot of attention away from the other attackers in our team and he is always very tightly marked – you can’t underestimate what he gives his teammates,” he said.
“(Berisha’s goalless streak is) definitely not a concern and I said when we signed him that he brings a lot more than goals.
“The fact that we won 1-0, he will save his up for when we really need them.”
Muscat will be hoping that Berisha unleashes his goals on Perth next Friday with the ladder leaders proving be tough opposition this campaign.
“Perth has built a little bit of momentum at the moment and they are playing with a lot of confidence,” Muscat said.
“They don’t give much away and they have got a threat in their attacking third – combining those two assets together make you pretty dangerous.”