The Wrap: Round 1 v Sydney

Following Melbourne Victory’s narrow 1-0 defeat to Sydney FC on Saturday night, Victory head coach Kevin Muscat discussed some of the key talking points to come out of the game.

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"I think it was a bit harsh on him as well having to put him out there, but the circumstances are the circumstances.

"We knew that we would get somewhere close to 60 minutes out of him. There were glimpses that were very, very good.

"There were times especially in the first half I think we could've utilised him and got him the ball a lot earlier and he would've caused a lot more damage but, a pleasing debut for him."

Although George has only been in Australia for a handful of weeks, his A-League debut was a promising one.

One of Victory’s best players on the night, George played 65 minutes and was lively.

Opta Widget: LeroyR1

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“Circumstances give people opportunity. I thought he was excellent tonight, and he can also play at right back.

“His performance tonight will propel him into a position where we consider playing him, without doubt. I thought he was excellent.

“He came up against a decent player in Adrian and held him to touches in the back third of their structure.

“If you noticed his action immediately after (the own goal), picking the ball up and running to the half way line, it showed me he’s matured a hell of a lot.

“If he keeps going like that and keeps working the way he is in training, we’ve certainly got a real serious option at full back.

“I was pleased for him tonight that he kept one of their better players really quiet.”

Asked to start at left back, Thomas Deng was tasked with the responsibility of keeping Adrian, one of Sydney FC’s star off-season signings, quiet.

Deng came in for high praise from Muscat for his performance, and appears to have put himself in good position for regular A-League minutes going forward.

Opta Widget: DengR1

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“It’s not the start in return of points (but) I was fairly pleased and (also) disappointed for the boys because I thought we were worth something tonight.

“Early on we were controlling in terms of where we wanted to force them and how we wanted to play.

"We had three or four real good opportunities to create goal scoring chances and just the final pass was a little bit off.

"At the end of the game, we had a number of opportunities, number of chances, and a reflection of them having to defend so desperately was a fair indication that we were knocking.

“We had a number of chances there with the ball bobbling around in the box, but unfortunately for us we couldn't put one away."

Victory responded well after going behind, having close to 70 percent possession in the last half hour of the game.

There were several half-chances, with shots from close range blocked away and a string of late corners failing to produce the desired result.

Next up for Victory is the highly anticipated Melbourne Derby on Saturday night at Etihad Stadium.

Opta Widget: StatsR1