Coast anger at Victory tactics
Angry Gold Coast United coach Miron Bleiberg has blasted Melbourne Victory’s tactics as brutal and intimidatory after they defeated his A-League side 2-0 at AAMI Park on Sunday.
Just a week after Victory were heavily criticised in the wake of Kevin Muscat’s now-infamous tackle in the Melbourne derby, Bleiberg let rip at the club for what he and his players described as a war-like first half.
Perhaps trying to spotlight the issue ahead of a likely meeting with the Victory in the first week of the finals, Bleiberg said United were bullied out of the match by what he called the home side’s overly physical tactics and behind-the-play niggling.
He was particularly incensed about losing midfielder Bas van den Brink inside the first few minutes to a Grant Brebner tackle which resulted in a leg injury, and the fact the Victory only received two yellow cards for the game.
“I’m not happy about it. We in Australia in the A-League want to play good football. This, according to my players, was a brutal game,” Bleiberg said.
“We got beaten because the other team were better, but we also got intimidated today.
“Especially in the first half, it was a war.
“We got fouled and fouled and fouled and they got warned.
“I don’t mind to lose a football game, but what happened today – it was a war in the first half.
“You watch it, it was dirty. It wasn’t the A-League the way I want to see it.”
Skipper Michael Thwaite, a former Victory player who won a championship with the club, echoed Bleiberg’s sentiments about his old team’s tactics.
“We played a lot different back then, we won the treble,” Thwaite said of his 2008-09 season there.
“In two years, I don’t think we (Gold Coast) have ever lowered ourselves to play that physical style. We’ve always tried to maintain a footballing culture at our club.
“We’re not going to lower ourselves to become brutal like that, because it’s not what we’re about and it’s not what we’re going to do in the finals.”
Regardless of any perceived physicality, the Victory were the better team over the 90 minutes played in searing heat, winning with two high-quality Danny Allsopp goals.
Allsopp struck in each half to all but assure his side an A-League finals berth, giving fifth-placed Victory a seven-point buffer over seventh-placed Melbourne Heart with two games remaining.