A club like Melbourne Victory needs a real leader to meet the high expectations – and Mehmet Durakovic never met the demands.
How did it come to this? Melbourne Victory went into the season with an excellent squad and are now floundering near the bottom of the ladder.
It could have been prevented if a different approach was taken from the start, an approach that a team of stars needed – the coach ruling with an iron fist and a clever game plan. An approach that the best teams, with the best individuals need – discipline and strategy.
The danger of having top individuals at a club is it can be too easy to forget the importance of having a well thought-out tactical plan – every team needs one, irrespective of the players they have.
But also because other teams will always rise to the occasion and have massive hunger to beat the so-called “superstars”, the team that is hunted by the others as a prized scalp.
Not only are good tactics vital, but the coach will set the tone for his team. A coach with real presence will get that extra few per cent out of players and take them to the next level.
Players are always testing limits – as I did many times – whether it be testing the coaching staff or management. It just comes down to how much a coach or management let you get away with.
Melbourne Victory management did a wonderful job to lure a star like Harry Kewell to our shores, but that was really just the start.
The deal was agreed early August but Kewell turned up in September, not enough time to get serious runs on the board regarding team understanding and fitness.
Because of the long off season in Australia, all clubs have the opportunity to work on team dynamics and fitness – something not to be underestimated.
Melbourne Victory management and coaching staff received plaudits for luring Harry back and rightly so, but they should have put their foot down by getting him in the country as soon as possible to give him ample time to gel with his teammates and reach peak fitness after a lengthy break.
Although Harry is slowly getting fitter and clearly has needed time to get accustomed with his teammates, he was always going to be behind the eight ball going in to the season.
I hope Mehmet Durakovic learns from this experience and down the track comes back bigger and better as a coach, wherever it may be. He needs to get away and reflect. Not only about how to do things better on the field but also about some of the things he has said in front of the camera as well, the latest example being post-game against Brisbane Roar, saying that his own side’s opponent was due for a win after five losses.
Not only is this sedning the wrong message, regardless of which club you are at, but at a club like Melbourne Victory where expectations are high, saying the opponent was due for a win is completely unacceptable.
The man at the helm of a club the size of Melbourne Victory should exclusively be explaining why Melbourne Victory didn’t win – not that the opponent was due.
Durakovic’s much-heralded rant saying, “I am the boss” was praised by many – I was not one of those. I thought, “If you really are the boss, why do you need to organise a get-together with the media to say that? Wasn-t it clear from the start when named head coach that you are supposed to be the boss?”
Saying he was the boss months later was admitting you never really were nor will you now ever really be as long as you are at Melbourne Victory. It-s about ruling with an iron fist from day one – trying to later won-t be bought – not by me anyway.
I sincerely hope Melbourne Victory get their act together. Such a great club with highly passionate fans and the closest I have seen to a European-style atmosphere here in the A-League – deserve all the success they get.
With such a fan base it puts even more focus on the decisions made on and off the park because the potential for scrutiny is so much higher.
As for the new boss Jim Magilton? Let-s see what he comes up with on the park and what he says – starting day one.