Kevin Muscat isn’t going to allow defeat to Adelaide United derail his Melbourne Victory side as it enters its busiest stretch of the season.
Muscat’s side went down 2-0 to the Reds in the latest incarnation of the ‘Original Rivalry’ on Wednesday night; first-half goals from Craig Goodwin and Ken Ilso condemning the defending A-League champions to their first defeat since a round two loss to Perth Glory.
Victory was blown out the water early by the Reds, who unlocked the side in navy blue with a high press that gave little opportunity for the back four and holding midfielder Carl Valeri to slingshot their side from defence to attack.
Muscat after the game admitted that he had felt a performance like Wednesday night had been coming for a number of weeks and that his side needed to be wary of getting jumped on by sides early in games.
Fronting the media on Friday, though, the Victory gaffer insisted that his side’s first defeat since October wouldn’t serve as a catalyst for a run of poor form.
— Joey Lynch (@joeylynchy) January 11, 2019
“I never take defeats easy,” the 45-year-old said.
“And so, I assume the group is in the same mindset.
“It was going to occur at some stage and it happened in Adelaide.
“We contributed to that in terms of the way we defended and the way we started the game – that first half. We’re better than that and we showed that in the second half but it was too much to ask.
“I don’t know if it was complacency. We didn’t perform to where we would like to perform.
“Understanding it’s a big game for Adelaide, we go across there it was a great atmosphere and the first 30-40 minutes they really took it to us and we didn’t deal with it too well.
“As I said, that happens and it’s the first time it’s happened since October.
“I think the group’s been fantastic considering everything we’ve endured in that period of time because those results came with a bit of adversity, with the number of players coming in and out of the squad.
“So, I think the players that have been involved have done a remarkable job and we’ll look to get back on track in terms of our performance at AAMI Park tomorrow night (against Newcastle Jets).”
As part of a packed January, Victory will host the Jets on just three nights rest on Saturday, before flying to face Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Tuesday evening.
“I suppose whilst I’m right in the middle of (such a busy period) I don’t think it’s time for me right now to discuss it,” Muscat said when questioned on the fixture congestion.
“Because, I don’t want it to be perceived as an excuse in any way shape or form.
“It’s a fixture list we knew was coming, we don’t foresee the number of players we haven’t got available, we didn’t foresee that.
“We’re in a situation and we’ll make the most of it.
“It’s difficult to ask the players to be doing too much today, it’s more recovery and recovery again tomorrow morning and prepare for an opportunity to perform well enough to earn three points.”
Thankfully for Victory fans that have already endured the loss of the likes of Keisuke Honda, Georg Neidermeir and Nick Ansell, Muscat also indicated that Victory escaped the defeat at Adelaide relatively unscathed.
“We’ll know more after this morning but from what we know… just naturally normal reaction after a game,” Muscat said.
“Pretty sore yesterday but that’s just normal for less than 24 hours after a game.”
With a number of Japanese media in town to cover the Australian Open Grand Slam in the room, Muscat then provided an update on the status of injured superstar Honda, as well as elaborating on his role with the side while on the sidelines.
“Keisuke travelled with us (because) at this stage of his rehab we thought it was important for him to be with the physio and the doctor who was with us,” Muscat added.
“Mainly because it was a lot of rehab and indoor stuff he’s doing, but he’s progressing really well.
“(His role is) no different to when he’s playing or when he was playing or no different to anyone else in the squad, no specific special role.
“He’s always willing to assist and always willing to help and no different to Carl, Broxy (Leigh Broxham), Kosta (Barbarouses), Ola (Toivonen).
“No different to what they’ve been tasked to do and what they’ve been doing throughout the season.”