Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou has put his players on notice following Saturday’s 3-2 A-League loss to Perth Glory at AAMI Park.
Josh Risdon scored in the 89th minute to keep the Western Australians in the finals race, while Victory have already secured a home elimination final on April 5 regardless of whether they finish third or fourth on the table.
“You don’t put on a Melbourne Victory jumper and know what you’re going to be doing in a week’s time and taking it for granted,” Postecoglou said.
“My players don’t know who’s playing on April 5th, – they might be sitting in the grandstand watching it like everyone else and that’s the point.”
Whether or not the hosts took their foot of the pedal in preparation for the business end of the season was a touchy subject for Postecoglou.
“It’s got nothing to do with it. It’s not the standards we accept and just not good enough,” he said.
“We were poor tonight. Poor in every way, shape and form, and got rightly punished for an unacceptable performance.
“If we play like that, we’ll lose. It’s as simple as that. It’s up to us to address that during the week and make sure we get it right next week.
“But from our perspective, it’s happened and no point putting our heads down, we’ve got to dust ourselves off, get to work tomorrow and make sure we present ourselves in a much better manner next week.”
Adrian Leijer scored the opener for Victory after 13 minutes, but Glory shot to a 2-1 half-time lead thanks to goals from Chris Harold and Travis Dodd.
Irish important Liam Miller had a hand in both strikes and was a continuing influence all through the match.
“Tonight, there were too many players who wanted a comfortable afternoon of football and that’s never going to happen at this football club and I won’t accept it,” Postecoglou said.
Victory were missing Mark Milligan and Archie Thompson to Socceroos duty as well as New Zealand international Marco Rojas.
But that was no excuse in Postecoglou’s book.
“You’re drawing a massive bow if you think there’s only two players missing tonight,” he said.
“The way we played tonight was unacceptable regardless of who was out there and who wasn’t.
“We need a better effort and attitude going into these games because we’re going into the business end of the season.
“It’s not about the short term, it’s about who we want to be and the standards we want to set – and I didn’t see 14 footballers fighting for their lives today.”