Muscat commends Victory for bounce back

Coach Kevin Muscat declared Melbourne Victory gave him an “outstanding” response against Suwon Bluewings, following their 5-0 defeat to Brisbane Roar last week.

While Victory were held to a 0-0 draw by the Bluewings at AAMI Park on Tuesday night, Muscat was much happier with his side after they lifted their work-rate against the K. League club.

MATCH REPORT: Victory, Suwon play out stalemate in ACL

Muscat had been furious with what he perceived as a lack of “application” in Saturday night’s huge loss to Brisbane.

While the Big V missed an opportunity at home to ensure they remained top of Group G with three AFC Champions League (ACL) matches remaining, Muscat appeared satisfied with his team as they moved to five points ahead of Shanghai SIPG’s clash with Gamba Osaka on Tuesday.

“Getting through the group stage becomes a lot easier if you win your home games, without doubt, [but] we also went to Gamba and brought a point home, so there’s still so much to play for and in a couple of hours’ time we’ll be top of the group or we’ll be second at the halfway mark [of the ACL group stage],” Victory’s coach said.

“Would I have liked a couple more points? Without doubt but I’m not going to knock the effort that that group gave tonight.”

Victory kept the Bluewings pinned back for long periods but appeared to run out of ideas in the second half as Suwon frustrated them.

Muscat made his first substitutions in the 81st minute, bringing on Oliver Bozanic for the impressive Jesse Makarounas and Giancarlo Gallifuoco for fellow defender Nick Ansell, who had a sore quadriceps and may be in doubt for Sunday’s Hyundai A-League game against Newcastle Jets.

The 42-year-old coach denied he should have made changes earlier.

“I was comfortable, I was happy and I think we were probing enough and I thought the players we had on the park were going to give us the best opportunity to break the deadlock,” he said.

Muscat added: “We created two or three half-chances, if you like, and at this level, you’ve got to take one of those and if you do, it’s a totally different game.

“Having said that, I thought we worked tirelessly to try and get in behind them… but it wasn’t to be.”