Kevin Muscat’s contract is up for renewal at the end of the season.
Kevin Muscat’s contract is up for renewal at the end of the season.

Players stick solid behind embattled Muscat

WINGER Kosta Barbarouses insists coach Kevin Muscat had the unwavering support of the Melbourne Victory players.

Victory released the pressure valve on Muscat with an emphatic 3-0 win over Adelaide United last week, just three days after a 4-1 Champions League trouncing at the hands of Shanghai SIPG.

Muscat is out of contract at the end of this season with his future subject to heavy scrutiny amid Victory's inconsistent campaign.

Barbarouses said Victory's collective performance against Adelaide spoke volumes regarding the players' stance on Muscat.

Melbourne Victory celebrate Leroy George’s goal against Adelaide.
Melbourne Victory celebrate Leroy George’s goal against Adelaide.

"It goes without saying really, everyone backs Musky and everyone believes in what he's doing,'' Barbarouses said.

"We all back each other up and you don't do that unless you care about each other. The performance we put in after travelling and playing in a tough match, we were overrunning them and that showed more than anything that we cared.

"The way Leroy (George) banged the (second) goal in and he took off celebrating, I think it got everyone else up to react like that. The game was a reaction and everyone gave one, it was a positive one that we needed.

"We were under pressure because I feel we all could've done better in the last few weeks.

has justified the tearing up of his marquee contract at Wellington to return to Victory, scoring seven goals in 17 appearances - his best Victory return though still short of his 12-goal haul at Brisbane Roar in 2010-11.

Kosta Barbarouses fires in a shot against Suwon Bluewings in the 2016 Asian Champions League campaign. Picture: George Salpigtidis
Kosta Barbarouses fires in a shot against Suwon Bluewings in the 2016 Asian Champions League campaign. Picture: George Salpigtidis

"I've left and come back again because I love the way we play here. Victory's been in two grand finals in the last three seasons, which is a great achievement, so it's proven that he's doing the right thing."

Victory face Melbourne City in a vital clash on Friday night - with third place potentially on the line.

"That (the added pressure) was one of things I was looking forward to the most in coming back, I like that sort of stuff. You don't really need an excuse, but it makes you get up for every game,'' he said.

"I don't know how many derbies I've played in but I still get pumped for them and they never go stale or boring.

"This season especially we've had one win each, and a win for us would take us a point away from them on the ladder so that's motivation enough to get up for any game."


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