He may be delighted at guiding his teams to the A-League semi-finals, but Brisbane Roar coach Mike Mulvey has worries over the fitness of three key players
|By STEVE BARRETT
Brisbane coach Michael Mulvey believes his finals-hardened outfit is in a good mental place as they march towards yet another grand final berth, but physically have been left battle-scarred after a bruising 2-1 elimination final triumph over Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium.
As impressive as the Roar's victory was, it came at a cost with captain Thomas Broich, Luke Brattan and right-back Jack Hingert all sustaining injuries and facing a short turnaround to recover ahead of Friday's elimination final against the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Mulvey is confident Broich and Brattan will be available but concedes English-born Hingert is unlikely to take his place against the minor premiers.
"We are mentally in a good place but physically I'm not so sure after a few knocks we've taken tonight," Mulvey said.
"Thomas Broich got a scrape down the back of his Achilles which is probably more like a cork of the Achilles if you can have a cork there.
"We were going put him out there for the first five minutes [of the second half against Adelaide] and see how he went but he was a bit too ginger so we decided to make the change at half-time.
"We're hopeful he'll be right for Friday,
"Lukey Brattan has got stud marks right the way down the back of his leg and across his calf. I think that's just a calf knock, that's all.
"Jack Hingert twisted his ankle as he was affecting a tackle and chasing [Jeronimo Neumann]. He's gone over and it [ankle] has blown up like a balloon.
"That game [semi-final] might come too quickly for him on Friday."
The three injuries were the only negatives from a thoroughly professional display by the two-time reigning champs, who repeatedly made the frazzled Reds look second-rate.
Bratton's stunning long-range volleyed goal from a Broich corner in the 27th minute was superb and Ivan Franjic's strike on the cusp of half-time gave the Roar a deserved 2-0 lead, which United belatedly halved in the frantic dying minutes through Dario Vidosic.
Mulvey heaped praise on Brattan, who looms as a real danger for the rampaging Wanderers if he is passed fit to play.
"There's no better striker of the ball in the league than Luke Brattan," Mulvey said.
"You see it in his range of passing, short and long, particularly his diagonal balls and his shooting as well."
The Roar have endured a tumultuous campaign, having spent the majority of the first half of the season in the bottom two, but have surged at the perfect time and now have three straight wins.
Mulvey believes treating must-win late-season games as finals was perfect preparation for a side with a track record for getting the job done on the biggest stage.
"We went into the Melbourne Heart game a couple of weeks ago and I stated that we were in finals football then," Mulvey said.
"We beat them, we played Sydney and beat them and now we've beaten Adelaide away.
"We're becoming a little bit more ruthless.
"We're putting pressure on the opposition and forcing turnovers... we're forcing teams to do things that they're not used to doing.
"I think it was thoroughly deserved tonight."