Muscat slams Victory performance

The fiery coach wasn't using travel as an excuse for what he believed was an 'inept' performance against Newcastle on Saturday night.
Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat has labelled his side's performance in the 2-2 draw with Newcastle as 'inept' despite doing enough to guarantee an Hyundai A-League finals berth.

The Victory were outplayed by the Jets throughout the match but showed plenty of tenacity to hang on in defence and find two goals, both to skipper Mark Milligan.

The hard-earned point means the Victory are now assured of playing in the post-season and are still in the hunt for a top two finish, but that fact was almost lost on Muscat who was seething at his side's display in the round 26 encounter.

“Before I get excited about the point to be honest my only thoughts are with the performance,” he said after the match.

“From our point of view it was a lacklustre, inept performance and one that is going to have to improve, and improve quickly because you can't start a game and give away possession as we did in the first half time and time again.

“We really want and push and win things. So from my perspective the performance was far more important than the point we got.”

Despite the fact the Victory have been involved in a heavy Asian Champions League campaign in recent weeks including a mid-week trip to Japan, Muscat said that was no excuse for his side's dour display.

“I don't buy into it to be honest,” he said.

“Yeah it is tough but so be it. I am not holding a gun to anyone's head to go out and play.

“If someone is tired they can put their hand up, if someone is fatigued or all the words that everyone wants to throw about, yeah it is tough, of course it is going to be tough, and you know what I want it to be tough next year as well because I want to be in the Champions League again.

“To get there, to be in those tough situations where ever game means something, it is a sign of having a little bit of success. And that is what we are all playing for. Ask every other team that hasn't got anything to play for what they would rather be doing.”

Newcastle coach Clayton Zane on the other hand was more optimistic about the result, insisting that while three points would've been ideal his side still has a great chance to make the finals.

“It could be a very valuable point,” Zane said.

“It feels like a big disappointment, almost like a loss in the change rooms now, but it could be a valuable point.

“But I think more than anything I was very happy with the performance tonight, so it is good going into the last game knowing we can put on a display like that. If we can do that against Adelaide next week and results fall our way, you never say never.”