Kevin Muscat has thrown cold water on the idea that NPL star Kenny Athiu will make an immediate impact for Melbourne Victory.
The former Heidelberg United attacker – long touted as a top flight prospect – got his first taste of A-League action on Monday night against Western Sydney Wanderers.
Known as ‘King Kenny,’ Athiu was buzzing post-match, but Muscat made it clear the new recruit was well off the pace.
“You can see he's physically nowhere near what's going to be required,” the Victory boss said. “We won't see the best of him for four or five weeks."
The striker was signed on a season-loan deal after a stellar season in NPLVIC but was meant to be eased into the side.
However Muscat’s hand was forced due to the suspension of Besart Berisha and the loss of James Troisi and Kosta Barbarouses to international duty.
Athiu was on the bench and finally called on in the 72nd minute for Matias Sanchez in what was a gruelling contest after Victory were reduced to 10 men on 24 minutes.
And despite scoring 21 goals in 28 matches this year for the Bergers, Athiu admitted he never dreamed of making his A-League debut this early.
“Not at all,” he said.
“I’m grateful to be here and I’ll enjoy every minute of it.
“I could’ve done so much better, but just that hype and pace of the game was hard to come into and I struggled a bit.
“I’m buzzing. I've been looking forward to this for a really long time, so I’m really happy.”
Athiu admitted there were mixed emotions as he ran onto the pitch, declaring it the best atmosphere he had ever experienced as a player.
“I was really excited. Coming on was a bit tough but I was glad I came on," he said.
“Obviously you still have to concentrate on the game and then worrying about everything else… (so) there were some nerves.”