Former Melbourne Victory captain Adrian Leijer hopes the club draws a ‘line in the sand’ and rectifies its disastrous 2019/20 campaign.
Injuries to key players coupled with poor overseas signings saw the club drop seven places on the table last season and miss the finals for the first time since 2011/12.
With Marco Kurz only lasting 11 matches it appeared the Victory, once again, fell victim to the type of identity crisis seen when a successful and long-serving manager departs.
This perhaps underpins the club’s decision to appoint two-time Championship winner Grant Brebner as its new head coach – who Leijer hopes replicates Kevin Muscat’s success in the role.
‘’I think Grant has done a good job with his recruitment,’’ Leijer told FNR.
‘’It’s a bit early to make big calls. Aside from the foreigners I was really impressed with a couple of the young guys and I think that’s where the future of the club is as well as the league.
‘’Hopefully we draw a line in the sand and learn from the past. I think Grant will be mindful of getting carried away. There were good performances, but that doesn’t always mean it’s going to translate straight into a good season.’’
‘’It happened after Ernie [Merrick] left. He was such a strong coach and character around the club so it took a while to find our feet and pick it up again. I suppose this is the second time we’ve gone through this. Grant now has the opportunity to develop as a coach and take the club back to where it should be.’’
In addition to blooding several youth players at the back end of last season, Brebner became the first A-League coach since Kevin Muscat in 2016 to progress through to the Round of 16 of the Asian Champions League.
Despite a 3-0 loss to Ulsan Hyundai, fans got a good glimpse of the new signings and system under Brebner – with the club’s stay in the Doha hub giving this new-look outfit a chance to gel.
‘’We could see the team was really well organised,’’ Leijer said.
‘’They kept a good shape and they pressed really well and I think it’s a sign of [Brebner’s] background. He wants to play some good football, so he’ll definitely push the boys and put his own stance on the team.’’
Melbourne Victory kicks off its 2020/21 A-League campaign against Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park on January 2.
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