A-League tipsters were thrown another curve ball over the weekend. This time around it was the 2019-20 elimination finals, where the higher placed teams were humbled in two entertaining and compelling fixtures.
Interim Melbourne Victory coach Grant Brebner insists the struggling A-League glamour club are heading in the right direction despite equalling their worst run of losses.
Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to Brisbane in Sydney was their fourth straight defeat, matching the streak they set in December 2015.
Second-from-bottom Victory play last-placed Central Coast next Monday and finish a disappointing campaign against Western Sydney on August 12.
Wednesday’s match followed a similar pattern to their last game 2-1 loss to Western United. Victory again trailed 2-0 but fought all the way to the end, scoring a late goal.
Brebner said it was disappointing and frustrating to again lose in that fashion, but was adamant the team was making progress despite their run of losses.
“I don’t want to go overboard because the result is the main thing, but we’re moving forward in the right direction I feel,” Brebner said.
“You can see with the way we are trying to play, we add some quality, that we will do in the off season, then Melbourne Victory are in a good place, so there’s positive signs.”
He said Victory’s midfield responded to his call to be braver than in the last game and felt the performance on Wednesday merited some kind of reward.
“I feel for the players because they deserved something but we will use that as motivation to kick on,'” Brebner said.
“We don’t want to be walking around with wounded bandages and feeling sorry for ourselves.
‘We will use that as ammunition to move forward on Monday night.”
Victory had four teenagers in their run on side on Wednesday with Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio showing plenty of zest in his first start.
Brebner gave short shrift to the suggestion he was experimenting with younger players over the closing rounds.
“I don’t call it experimenting. I’m playing a team that I see as the best placed team to win the game,” Brebner said.
“There’s players tonight that will keep their place in the team next Monday night because they deserve to.
“I know from the outside looking in it possibly looks like that, for me it’s not experimenting.
“I trust these players, I believe in those players.”
One of the teenagers, Birkan Kirdar, suffered a sore leg and had to be replaced, while Adama Traore was also substituted as a precautionary measure, due to what Brebner described as a “little niggle.”