Kevin Muscat has admitted star Kiwi striker Kosta Barbarouses was impacted by Friday's Christchurch terrorist attack, which has claimed 50 lives.
Barbarouses was born in the New Zealand capital of Wellington and lived there as recently as 2017, when playing with the Wellington Phoenix.
After scoring in last night's 2-1 win for Melbourne Victory over Brisbane Roar, Barbarouses offered a touching celebration in tribute for the victims of Friday's terrorist attack, in which two Christchurch mosques were targeted in shooting sprees.
"On behalf of the club, our condolences go to everybody across in Christchurch,” Muscat said.
“I can't imagine what the families of everybody affected are going through so on behalf of Melbourne Victory, our condolences.
“In relation to Kosta, it's certainly a very emotional subject when you're speaking to someone so just seeing Kosta and how he was, I didn't feel the need to have that conversation with him, especially prior to the game and he responded tonight from the affects from his country very well."
On a personal level, this season has shown a new level to Barbarouses' game as Muscat has taken to deploying him in a central, striker role.
It's allowed the former winger to vastly increase his goal output, with Barbarouses already exceeding his Victory goal tally from his previous spell at the club, in nearly half the amount of games.
Last night's brace also takes him to equal second in the league for goals scored, with 13 strikes in 22 appearances (with three assists).
“To Kosta himself, we've asked and we worked on him playing a different role,” Muscat continued.
“All the cries at the start of the year were that he's not a striker and he needs to get out on the touchline and play out wide, but I certainly saw something within the framework that we've got, that he'll get chances and when he's facing the opponent's goal.
“When he's running towards that opponent's goal, he's dangerous and he's been rewarded tonight and the team has been rewarded with a performance that earnt three points.”