Macarthur FC Coach Ante Milicic was frank in his appraisal of his side’s performance on Thursday night at AAMI Park against Melbourne Victory, admitting he wasn’t overly pleased, but did enough to collect a vital three points, as the Bulls look to lock down a maiden A-League finals berth.
“To be honest I’m not overly pleased at the way we played tonight, but to collect the three points, we did enough to go back to Sydney.” Milicic said to Archie Thompson on Fox Sports at full time.
“We couldn’t deal with the forward runs of Robbie Kruse and Gestede, but we managed to find some composure after going a goal down, to put us on the right side of the score sheet.”
Thursday night’s win over 11th place Melbourne Victory, saw the return of Spaniard Markel Susaeta from a groin strain, that has kept the winger sidelined for the past month.
Scoring the Bulls opening goal, Susaeta added a level of calmness to the Bulls attack from the opening whistle.
“He (Susaeta) adds a lot to our team. He brings composure to the way we play and has a lot of freedom in our attack.”
“The plan was to always bring him off at the 60 minute mark. We missed him in the last month and important he is fit and ready to go for the run home.
Although the Bulls had almost 60% of the possession throughout the match, one concerning stat Milicic will be looking to address before the next match is the number of total shots, with Victory outfiring the Bulls 21 to 6 towards keeper Adam Federici.
“I thought, particularly in the first half we struggled with parts of the game, but to come from a goal down and get three points against a difficult opponent is pleasing.”
“We were our own worst enemy (on Thursday night). We gave the ball away too easily, we were vulnerable in transition and that last 10 minutes was too open, resembling more of a game of basketball.”
With several key players still on the side-line injured, Thursday nights win was vital in keeping the Bulls quest for a maiden final’s appearance alive.
“The loss of Susaeta, Franjic, Tommy Oar, Jovanovic is massive. We were looking good, winning three in a row a few weeks back, but then you lose a couple of key injuries and it becomes difficult. All teams struggle when they miss their stronger players.”
“All the games are tight in the league. For us at this stage, we are getting players back from injury and it gives us a chance to finish off the season well.”
“We needed to win tonight. We have Victory again on Friday night, and we need to win that. We went to Perth last week and got a point without five regular starting players and that was massive for us. You need to get the draws and turn them into wins and the pleasing thing is tonight we found a way to win.”