Marco Kurz admits an absence of self-confidence is holding his struggling Melbourne Victory side back following the 0-0 draw with Wellington Phoenix.
Kristijan Dobras’ red card on the hour mark all but ended Victory’s hopes of securing three points at AAMI Park, as both teams recorded a total of three shots on target between them.
Kurz revealed his game-plan was to finds the gaps and pass through Phoenix’s midfield and defensive lines but he said his team did not have the confidence to take those risks.
After recording only two wins from 10 matches to start the Hyundai A-League season, the German head coach sympathised with the 12,000 Victory fans in attendance and insisted his team must do better.
“I understand the fans. The second half was not really good from our side,” Kurz admits.
“The first half you saw by the boys that they are not really 100% self confident in the way we want to set up, in the way we want to play.
“The good thing is we had big chances to score a goal. I think we need this kind of good moment but we have to work for this.
“The second half was really hard. We have to invest a little bit more in our pressing and be stronger in certain situations.
“After the red card, it’s really hard to control or come back in a good way.
“[Those are] only the circumstances. I’m not happy with the way we played.”
Next week, Victory face rivals City in the Christmas edition of the Melbourne Victory derby, in a match Kurz accepts is about more than simply three points.
The head coach expects to have German defender Tim Hoogland available to make his Hyundai A-League debut after being sidelined with a quad injury all season, but Thomas Deng may still be on the physio table.
“We will work hard in the week to be ready for the derby,” Kurz added.
“It’s not only three points. With a good result we can fight back in a good way.
“That's our clear goal and we are hungry for the game.”
Wellington extended their unbeaten run to five Hyundai A-League matches and Ufuk Talay was delighted with his team's performance, despite them only recording two shots on target while having an extra player for more than half an hour.
“I thought the performance was great,” Talay said.
“I thought we dominated Victory from a first minute to the 90 minute.
“I thought we played some really good football away from home.
“I thought we didn’t create as many chances as we would have like to, but I thought we were the best team.
“They made it difficult when they went to 10 men, and made it very difficult to break them down.
“Overall, I’m very pleased with the performance of the players and where we’ve come from where we started.”
Shots on target: Melbourne Victory 0-0 Wellington Phoenix
Wellington Phoenix v Sydney FC
Date: Saturday, 21 December
Venue: Westpac Stadium
Kickoff: 4.45pm local, 2.45pm AEDT
Melbourne City v Melbourne Victory
Date: Saturday, 21 December
Venue: AAMI Park
Kickoff: 5pm AEDT