Melbourne Victory head coach Kevin Muscat was delighted with goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas' performance in the Hyundai A-League Grand Final.
Thomas was awarded the Joe Marston Medal after a standout display in a 1-0 win over the Newcastle Jets on Saturday.
The goalkeeper made four saves – including a tremendous double stop in the first half – in Victory's record-breaking fourth championship success.
Kosta Barbarouses' early goal was enough for Victory to claim its win at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Speaking at a post-match news conference, Muscat was asked about his team's win and Thomas' performance.
on his feelings…
"The only feelings I've got are just about the result. I don't really get motivated with history, the past doesn't win games of football, the past doesn't win trophies. I suppose it'll be nice in time to come, but at this point in time I'm just pleased for that group. The amount of adversity and challenges and obstacles that we had to jump, it's been phenomenal. I don't think it's been highlighted enough. I tend to not bring them up or talk about it because it's just perceived as excuses, something I'm not really comfortable with – making excuses. Instead, we just stared the challenges down one by one and got ourselves to a point where, towards the back end of the season, we got some continuity and belief started building. As the season came to a close, we were just getting stronger and stronger. To come from fourth, I understand that hasn't been done before, to win an away grand final – that's not easy either – but the way we've stared down them hurdles, I can't speak highly enough of Lawrence and his team-mates – outstanding effort."
on Victory's fourth Hyundai A-League championship…
"It's a little bit different, to be honest. Winning it away from home, albeit it's sweet, these moments you've got to enjoy and embrace, but it felt a little bit different, winning it away from home without a packed stadium. And then you get close to the 5,000 that did manage to get here, a lot of them on bus and a lot of them via Sydney as well, it's not the easiest place to get to Newcastle. But I think they responded with the decision and rightly so to host the Grand Final. I think the town and the region has responded remarkably and credit to them."
on Thomas' performance…
"He had to stand tall and I think Lawrence has been getting better as the team's been getting better. After last week's heroics as well, it gives confidence to the group. We knew it was going to be a very, very direct approach and in that first half, at times, we found it difficult when we were winning the first ball, we were working so hard to get back that maybe we were working a little bit too hard because then they're picking the second balls up and keeping us in our half and – that double save was as good as you'll see – I'm very, very pleased for Lawrence. There might be some good news from us during the week about him, but for now, we'll just enjoy the night."