Melbourne Victory are angry and and confused as they brace for two weeks of self-isolation after a debilitating A-League defeat in Wellington.
Few will be surprised by the news that Melbourne Victory have sacked Marco Kurz.
The German manager lasted just 13 games in charge and departs the club with a miserly record of four wins, three draws and six losses.
A win ratio of 30.77 per cent at one of the A-League’s biggest clubs is not good enough.
And while results are one thing, performances have been equally dire.
Sure, Kurz has overseen something of an uplift in recent weeks.
A controversial 3-2 loss to Central Coast Mariners may have been the final nail in Kurz’s coffin, but the two performances prior – a 4-0 thrashing of Newcastle Jets and a 2-1 Christmas derby win over Melbourne City – were the Victory’s best of the season.
But overall, it would be hard to find too many nice things to say about their overall standard this season.
The performances have been met with the results they deserve and because of that Kurz’s sacking can really come as no surprise.
With the Victory scrambling to reshuffle its squad during the January transfer window – Marco Rojas is rumoured to be returning to the club any day now with Corey Brown and Kristijan Dobras set to depart – questions must also be raised about club recruitment and the role Kurz played in that process.
In Kurz’s defence, he was appointed late in the off-season, not being appointed until June, so no doubt many transfer plans were completed prior or at least set in motion prior to the German’s arrival.
For that reason, one can have sympathy for Kurz’s plight.
But regardless of his involvement in the recruitment of players, the squad at his disposal is better than the results achieved.
The lack of a clearly defined style has also been a real plague. Kurz failed to adapt his approach to the players he had available and while his workmanlike style enjoyed some success with Adelaide United, it was not the right fit for a club with the mercurial talents of players like Ola Toivonen and Robbie Kruse.
Dobras is set to depart the club, but his struggles have largely matched by the other foreign recruits, including former Denmark international Jakob Poulsen.
Did these players become bad players overnight? Or were they simply not being played to their strengths?
Regardless, Kurz’s inability to find the answer to those questions – and the fact it took ten games to start making those changes – lies at the heart of Victory’s decision to move now.
The task ahead of Kurz, the first coach of the post-Kevin Muscat era, was always going to be tough, but he never looked like he had grasped the opportunity before him nor captured the attention of his players.
Victory has a big decision ahead d plenty of time to get it right, with second assistant Carlos Salvachua set to take the reins until the end of the season.
Kurz was not the right fit, but if the board gets the decision on his replacement wrong again, then serious questions will be posed of the club’s higher-ups.