Melbourne Victory’s Spase Dilevski says A-League leaders Central Coast deserve their place on top of the table ahead of their clash in Tasmania.
Victory will host the Mariners in Launceston on Saturday with Melbourne having moved above Western Sydney to third last week courtesy of their 2-0 win over Wellington.
Central Coast are top of the A-League with 33 points, four ahead of Adelaide United, while Victory are three points further adrift, and Dilevski has no doubts the Mariners deserve to be in front.
“I think just as a whole, they’re just a great team and the ladder doesn’t lie,” Dilevski said on Thursday.
“They’re first and it’s not a fluke.”
Dilevski started for just the second time this season against Wellington, replacing injured playmaker Gui Finkler in Victory’s starting line-up.
With six assists in 12 games, Finkler was undoubtedly Melbourne’s main creator in midfield, but is out for the rest of the season having injured his anterior cruciate ligament against the Wanderers in Round 14.
A tactical tweak from head coach Ange Postecoglou, which saw Marcos Flores at the point of a midfield diamond that also included Dilevski, Billy Celeski and Mark Milligan, ensured Victory dealt with Finkler’s absence as well as could be expected against Wellington.
“There was a bit of a structural change there,” Dilevski said.
“Yeah, I wouldn’t say I’m the perfect replacement for Finkler, we’re different types of players.
“So I think the coach (has) seen that…and he’s changed it around.
“I’m happy with it. As long as we’re playing I’m happy and as long as we’re doing well.
“That’s the most important thing.”
While Postecoglou reiterated this week that he would like to sign a replacement player to cover for the loss of Finkler, Dilevski is unconcerned.
“The coach and the club are going to do whatever they think is right for the club and for the future,” the 27-year-old midfielder said.
“So, you know, all I can do is go out there, play to the best of my ability and I’m sure it’ll all work out.”