They may have had to scratch and claw for it but Melbourne Victory Head Coach Kevin Muscat nevertheless believes his side got what they deserved in their 2-1 win over Central Coast Mariners on Sunday evening.
Proceedings appeared to be moving forward in a regulation manner for Victory at half time of their clash with the A-League cellar dwellers; heading for the dressing room up a goal to nil thanks to Ola Toivonen’s 21st minute opener and perhaps unlucky to not be even more up.
However, Matt Simon’s controversial 51st minute penalty well and truly upset the apple cart for the defending A-League champions – putting their chances of snatching second place from Sydney FC in even greater peril.
Throwing further attacks forward in a desperate attempt to retake their lead, the hosts struck gold in the 79th minute when Georg Niedermeier found the back of the net for the first time in a Victory shirt to renew his side’s lead.
Speaking to journalists following the contest, Muscat said that he was pleased with the way that his side responded in order to find a winner and keep themselves in the race for second place.
“You always get what you deserve… you always get what you deserve,” he said
“We can look back at this game and other games and think what should’ve [or] could’ve [done] but the reality is you always get what you deserve.
“I thought we responded enormously.
“It was a massive response from the playing group and in the end, we got our just rewards with the result, but, first and foremost, it was a performance that gives you that opportunity
“[The race for second-place] wasn’t a clear focus.
“We’re worried and focusing on ourselves. We’ve got to concentrate and put in and let everybody else worry about themselves.
“From our perspective, we’ve got to recover now, we need to make sure we do the right things and stay committed and stay hungry in the next four days and go across to Adelaide, where we know what to expect.
“Adelaide will lift at home, it’s going to be a good game, it’s always a good atmosphere and we look forward to it.”
That’s not to say, however, that Muscat couldn’t identify areas of improvement his side could make ahead of that trip to Adelaide on Friday evening.
“We’ve got to get better at that final strike,” he explained
“That finishes actions off.
“[But] I’ll focus a lot more of my energy on how we created those combinations and the lead up to those build-up moments where we were in and around their box.
“I’ll concentrate and have a good look at that and, first and foremost, identify the reasons we were able to do that and perform like that.
Work on creating more of those opportunities.
“[But], without a doubt, we want to get better at every aspect.”