Wanderers coach Tony Popovic says Melbourne Victory remain a dangerous A-League side despite the departure of mentor Ange Postecoglou.
Western Sydney Wanderers boss Tony Popovic says Melbourne Victory remain the same formidable side under new coach Kevin Muscat as they were under Ange Postecoglou.
Muscat has enjoyed a rollercoaster ride as Victory boss since taking over from new Socceroos manager Postecoglou after the 1-0 win over Brisbane Roar in round three and that continued in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the Wanderers at Parramatta Stadium.
The Victory controlled much of the first half but couldn’t find the back of the net despite a number of chances, with Archie Thompson letting a golden opportunity slip from point-blank range in the 13th minute.
A Mark Bridge goal in the 82nd minute was the difference between the teams as the Victory gave an impressive account of themselves against the unbeaten Wanderers.
It was a vastly different Victory than the one which lost 3-2 to a 10-man Sydney FC the previous week.
In Muscat’s only other match in charge the Victory prevailed 3-2 over Wellington Phoenix in round four.
After the match Popovic paid tribute to Victory as a difficult opponent and said from his perspective it had been a seamless transition from Postecoglou to his understudy Muscat.
“I didn’t see any difference,” Popovic said.
“They are still a very good side and a very dangerous side.
“In the first half they were very threatening with the ball and I don’t view them any differently to what they were previously.”
Melbourne have earned two wins, two losses and two draws from their six games and will stay in the top six at the end of round six regardless of the result of Sunday’s clash between Newcastle Jets and Brisbane Roar.
Muscat emphasised his side’s failure to capitalise on their dominance of the first half as a reason behind their loss but said he was confident the Victory can continue to match it with the top sides under his stewardship.
“It’s tough to come away from Sydney for the second time with nothing but it was a good effort,” he said.
“The performance was there. We just needed a bit more patience in the box.
“We are heading in the right direction.”