|By BREN O'BRIEN
Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou has blasted marquee man Marcos Flores for what the coach described as a "stupid" sending off late in Saturday's dramatic 2-2 A-League match with Central Coast Mariners.
With Victory pressing for a late winner after laying siege to the Mariners goal for much of the second half, Flores, who had already been booked for backchatting referee Strebre Delovski, flew in with a careless tackle on Trent Sainsbury.
The send off meant that Victory played injury time with ten men against ten, having failed to take advantage when Mariners defender Patrick Zwaanswijk was sent off in the 50th minute.
The act itself was stupid said Postecoglou, but the fact the Argentine will miss next week's match against Western Sydney Wanderers was even more frustrating, especially considering that Brazilian import Gui Finkler is expected to be sidelined for another week with a groin injury.
"It was stupid, it's disappointing Marcos should know better," Postecoglou said.
"He let us down today and he misses next week which is totally unnecessary.
"He's an important part of what we do and there's no guarantee [Gui] Finkler will be back next week so again we're going to have some pretty significant absences.
"It wasn't his greatest moment. He had been warned just before that."
Postecoglou indicated he held concerns over his squad depth, having fielded several youngsters in Saturday's game in the absence of Finkler and Archie Thompson, who was a late withdrawal.
In that regard, he was pleased with having come back twice to claim a share of the points.
"Having Archie and Finkler out, we're not a team who can carry major absences like that," he said.
"Archie felt crook during the day, he had no energy in the warm up so there was no point carrying him so we threw young Andrew [Nabbout] in there which was a bit unfair on him but to his credit he got his goal and did a job for us."
A flat Postecolgou said he felt it was three points Melbourne could have secured. He said, despite a recent run of good form, there is still considerable improvement left in Victory over the season.
"We could've won for sure but at the same time it's probably where we're at as a team, we're not good enough to capitalise as a team at the moment," he said.
"There's still some schoolboy stuff we need to get rid of, particularly defensively which is holding us back."