|By PADDY HIGGS
Ange Postecoglou has testily swiped aside suggestions luck had anything to do with Melbourne Victory's thrilling 2-1 win over Perth Glory in Friday's A-League elimination final.
Victory progressed courtesy of a Mark Milligan penalty and Archie Thompson's extra-time header, but only after Glory had taken a first-half lead through Ryo Nagai, while Shane Smeltz had missed his own spot kick just moments before the hosts equalised.
Perth went down to 10 men when Steve Pantelidis' dissent cost him a second yellow card after he gave away the penalty, but Postecoglou was unhappy when his post-match press conference was led by a question asking if his side had any 'get out of jail-free' cards remaining.
"I guess it's easy to say that. It's a flippant line, isn't it? Very flippant. The guys are really suffering in there. They had to go through the wringer," Postecoglou said.
"… Yeah we left it late and it wasn't pretty, but we've still got to win the games, and in my experience in football - particularly in finals games - the result's there when the referee blows his whistle.
"I've been on the end of it a couple of times and I've never deemed myself or the opposition 'lucky'. I think you've still got to work for it."
When pushed on whether he thought his side was fortunate, Postecoglou said: "Well that's not our fault. Milsy could have missed penalty couldn’t he? It takes some real heart, yeah? So we're dismissing that."
Postecoglou described Nagai's goal as a 'soft' one, admitting his side's penchant for easily conceding had been an 'Achilles heel' of the 2012-13 season.
But he rejected Victory needed to target improvement between now and next Sunday's semi-final meeting with the Central Coast Mariners at Gosford, emphasising finals football was a vastly different prospect to that of the home-and-away season.
"It'll be a different game again. With finals games, what happens in a game dictates sometimes how it goes. Teams that score first know they've got the upper hand [and] can play fairly conservatively and can destroy the tempo of the game," he said.
"Teams that are chasing the game obviously have to take extra risks, so it's not about improvement or changing anything, it's just about how you deal with the circumstances.
"As I said, in finals games, the most important thing is at that final whistle that you have your nose in front, whichever way you can, and we got our noses in front today."