Grant Brebner says don’t judge A-League cellar-dwellers Melbourne Victory for at least another five matches.
But will the besieged coach be given that long to turn the struggling club’s fortunes around?
Already under pressure after the Victory’s shocking start to the season, Brebner’s job may have become less secure following Tuesday news that former Western Sydney Wanderers and Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic was a free agent after being sacked by Greek second division club Xanthi.
Despite a more-than-adequate record of four wins, three draws and two losses from nine matches, Popovic – who has previously attracted interest from the Victory – was punted by Xanthi.
In contrast, Brebner’s Victory side has a win, a draw and five defeats from seven games. Throw in the four losses from the five matches Brebner was in charge of at the end of last season, and it’s fair to say that time is fast running out for the Scotsman.
That’s despite Brebner saying his last-placed team was “moving in the right direction”.
🗣 Brebs on the front ④#MVFC#Since05pic.twitter.com/wzk1sOgCUI
“The league position maybe doesn’t suggest that but let’s have a look at the league position in another five, six, seven, eight games when we’ve really got our settled team on the pitch,” he said ahead of the Victory’s match against Wellington Phoenix at AAMI Park on Wednesday night.
“Once we get that and once we get that continuity of players playing, then I think we’ll see a different team.”
Not for the first time, Brebner said “tough conversations” had been held following the Victory’s 1-0 weekend home loss to the Newcastle Jets.
“Nobody is under any illusion with where we’re at, at the moment. Nobody’s confused about the conversation or confused about what was said,” he said.
“To be fair to the players, they took it on the chin, and they acknowledged the things that were said, so now we’ve just got to look forward.
“What’s been has been, and (on Wednesday night) thankfully, we get another opportunity very quickly to put it right.”
Brebner put the onus on the Victory’s experienced attacking arsenal of Robbie Kruse, Marco Rojas, Callum McManaman and Rudy Gestede to score more goals.
“We need to put the ball in the back of the net,” he said.
“We get the opportunity to field a team (against the Phoenix) that I’d like to field in that area. It’s been a long time coming. We'll have no excuses in that front third in terms of getting the ball in the right areas and getting the service and hopefully a bit of lady luck as well, putting the ball in the back of the net.”
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