Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou said his side’s gutsy 2-0 victory over Western Sydney Wanderers is proof they are title contenders.
Victory were reduced to 10 men in the 16th minute when defender Sam Gallagher was red carded for a challenge on Dino Kresinger on the edge of the penalty box.
Postecoglou’s men were under the pump for the remainder of the first stanza but hit the front right on half-time when Michael Beauchamp deflected the ball into his own net.
The Wanderers also had the better of the second half but the visitors hung tough and doubled their lead with an opportunistic Archie Thompson goal on the hour to seal an impressive win.
“It was a challenge today for sure, going down a man,” a proud Postecoglou said.
“I think we’re playing some good football but I guess from our point of view if we’re going to be contenders we need to show a little bit more character and resilience under difficult situations.
“I thought today we were tremendous in that area and if we keep showing that sort of resilience, then couple that with our football slowly getting better and we’ll be a tough team to beat.
“We want to be that sort of team… just because you go down to 10 men doesn’t mean you should really try and settle.
“We want to be a team that tries to win every game… obviously it’s difficult with 10 men no doubt, but we think we’ve got players in our team that can hurt the opposition if we keep playing football.”
Asked his thoughts on referee Ben Williams’ decision to hand marching orders to Gallagher, Postecoglou replied: “I haven’t seen it (the sending off) but people tell me that he got clipped first, if that’s the case (it’s) disappointing because it’s a big decision.
“It’s disappointing for Sammy because he waited a long time for his opportunity.”
Postecoglou praised Thompson’s goal against the run of play on the hour.
The Victory swooped on a loose pass from Beauchamp and stung the Wanderers on the counter attack, with Marco Rojas breaking free down the left and delivering a cross for Thompson who connected from an acute angle.
“It was a good goal. It’s a goal we work on and a great finish by Archie,” he said.
“We’ve got some attacking weapons going forward. We’ve just been not as strong defensively as a unit as we should have been in the last few games.
“I think apart from the first two games we’re starting to show a bit of consistency and today answered a question about our character.
“I think we’re strong mentally which is a good sign.”