Melbourne Victory Chairman Anthony Di Pietro has admitted Melbourne Victory didn’t get the appointment of Marco Kurz right but, with a squad overhaul imminent, lessons will be learnt going forward.
Victory this morning announced they would be parting ways with Kurz after just 13 A-League games, the third-fastest sacking in A-League history.
Though the four-time A-League champions sit sixth on the ladder heading into their round 15 meeting with Adelaide United, their spot on the table says more about the relative mediocrity of the league this season than their own abilities.
Their four wins, three draws and six losses earned so far are well below the expectations the club sets itself.
Assistant Carlos Salvachúa, a holdover from the days of Kevin Muscat era, has been tapped to take over the reins of the club on an interim basis following Kurz’s departure, with fellow assistant and long-time Kurz collaborator Filip Tapalović following him out the door.
Fronting the media following the announcement of his now-former coach's axing, Di Pietro said that the club's decision was not a rash one and that both performance and results had been taken into account in making the decision.
“We review performance and results along the way,” the Victory chairman said. “I think you have to be honest, we’re going to take our time in the process going forward and we’re going to look at what we did in the current process.
“You can never get every appointment right. No organisation gets every appointment right.
“The strategy doesn’t change, but appointments at times don’t work. What we need to do is continually look at performance and results but, in the process going forward, we have to look at how we can improve how we do that.
“We’ll certainly take our time to do that.
“We’ll take out time to review what we’ve learned in the process in appointing a coach.
"We’ve certainly sat here as a club as you grow and spend years building a club. I will say this, it’s wonderful to enjoy the success, the ecstasy of sport, but the agony is certainly just as difficult.
“Going forward, we’ve got to continually learn from what we do and we’ll spend the time… and time is going to be on our time this time around.
“It’s come down to can we make an improvement on where we’re at. We’re certainly not happy with where we’re at and this decision was based on improving that.”
Victory’s play has been defined by its pragmatism so far in 2019/20, with moments of incisiveness and verve more often than not delivered thanks to individual brilliance from players such as Robbie Kruse and Ola Toivonen more so than any tactical innovation.
For a club like Victory, whose fans pride themselves on the perception that their club plays an attacking and attractive brand of football, it was a bitter pill to swallow – especially when not accompanied by on-field success.
“I don’t want to talk about how a coach is coaching,” Di Pietro said. “But at Melbourne Victory, our members expect an entertaining brand of football and that’s what will bring us the results that we want as well if we’re playing football that’s taking on our opposition.
“It’s easy to make these statements, I really don’t want to get into playing styles at all, because there are factors that can affect a game plan on any given day. But yes, an entertaining take on the game, the brand of football is what our members and fans expect.”
Salvachúa, for his part, agreed.
“Firstly, I have to adapt to the players and adapt to the philosophy of the club,” the interim boss said. “That’s most important.”
“I know at this club is an important thing in Australia and always they try to get an attacking style, an attacking performance, an entertaining style for the members. This is what I trust in the squad and the players and I think we can do it.”
Victory in coming days expected to announce an agreement to bring favourite son Marco Rojas back to the club, with import Kristijan Dobras released to make way for the All White.
Victory CEO Trent Jacobs also confirmed that defender Corey Brown had agreed to a mutual termination of his contract with Victory, and flagged further manoeuvring in the January transfer window to come.
“We can confirm today, due to personal reasons, Corey Brown has departed the club by way of mutual termination,” Jacobs said. “We will be looking to improve our roster through the January transfer window, albeit at the moment we haven’t made any signing and final decisions.
“We assure our members and fans that our intentions are very clear for the remainder of the year. This decision as the chairman has said is about retaining results and we’ll look to put together the best roster for the remainder of the season to attain those results.”