When it comes to his future as the Head Coach of Melbourne Victory, Marco Kurz says that he’s not the man to ask – all he’s focused on is attempting to turnaround his club’s rapidly disintegrating season.
Despite coming away with a point following a 0-0 draw with Wellington Phoenix – 30 minutes of which was spent with a one-man disadvantage following Kristijan Dobras’s red card – Saturday evening was not a good one for Victory.
Though it’s all too easy to write coaches' tenures off – especially in a competition such as the A-League where there is no relegation and sides can still finish sixth and win the title – it’s fair to say that the coming Christmas Derby looms as a potential D-Day for Kurz.
For Victory, a club that has cultivated an image of sustained success and dominance, a loss to high-flying cross-town foes Melbourne City while they continue to languish near the foot of the table would be untenable.
And with both a bye week and the transfer window opening in the days after, it would serve as perhaps the most painless time to make a change in the dugout.
“Look… I understand the question, but I cannot answer it,” a stoic Kurz said when asked about his tenure. “I’m not the person who is in the position to speak about the coach.
“What I can say is that I have full energy, I’m working hard to find the turnaround so get results for the fantastic club. What can I say but the decision making, it’s not in my… I’m not the person.
“What I can say is that we believe that we will work hard during the week to be ready. We know [the Christmas Derby] is a big game. It’s not only three points but with a good result we can find ourselves back in a good way and that’s our clear goal.
“We are hungry for the game.”
In a spiteful contest in which 10 yellow cards were handed out by referee Stephen Lucas, Victory struggled to move the ball from defence to attack time and time again against Phoenix.
When forced to defend, they watched on as the ‘Nix comfortably passed the ball around and transitioned the ball forward – only saved by the visitor's inability to find that final killer pass or moment of individual brilliance in the final third.
At the conclusion of the 90 minutes, boos rang out from the 12,023 fans in attendance at AAMI Park: their frustration with the poor performances and poor results earned bleeding through.
“I understand the fans because the second half was not really good from our side,” Kurz said post-game. “I think the first half you saw by the boys that they are not really 100% confident in the way we want to set up, in the way we want to play.
“I’m not happy with the way we played.
“When you’re at a team meeting and we explained how we can set up and find the gaps and feel confident to beat the lines with passes, and you then play only side to side that shows you that they are not really confident in themselves to risk something or to play firm balls.
“Our job is – or the player's job – is to improve during the game. To feel comfortable, to win the duel, to make a good pass, to win a race with your opponent, to score a goal and then improve. Because what we can’t expect from players is to hit a button and to play well.
“It’s not just here [in Australia], I think a good example would be the [2014 World Cup] semi-final, Germany against Brazil. You saw players, they earn millions, but they stopped playing.
“The only thing you can do is to stay positive, to stay together. That’s really important. Not to show on others but look to you – what can I do better?
“And then improve during the week and show it in the game. That’s the only way I think we can find the turnaround.”