Western United Head Coach John Aloisi lauded his players for a “top performance” after they secured a superb 1-0 win against Melbourne Victory on Boxing Day.
Josh Risdon’s header in first-half stoppage time proved the difference as United claimed back-to-back wins for the first time this season despite playing over an hour with 10 men, leaving the boss delighted.
“We showed our resilience again, we showed our character. It’s not easy against any team, especially against a team like Victory that move the ball really well, to have 10 men for over 60 minutes,” he said.
“I’m really pleased for the boys because there was a lot of questions when we were conceding a lot of goals. They kept on believing, kept working hard in training, and this capped it off, this win. To win like that, with that character that we showed, it’s brilliant.”
The two victories have produced United’s first two clean sheets of the season, seeing a return to the defensive solidity that underpinned the side’s success last season.
Aloisi said that the last week has shown once again what his team is capable of, and he believes there is plenty more to come.
“It showed, this game and the last game, that when we’re organised and we’re not stretched, that we’re really hard to break down,” he said.
“That shows what we’re capable of doing, and we know that. We proved it last season, and we’re proving it again now. Going forward, we’re scoring goals and we’re creating chances, we know that we’re always going to do that because of the players that we have and the way that we move the ball around,” he said.
The returns of the likes of Tomoki Imai and Tongo Doumbia have come at the right time for United, too, with Aloisi admitting the level in training has risen as players compete for places on match day.
The match had a different feel about it as a result of sanctions imposed on Melbourne Victory fans in the wake of the Melbourne Derby, but Aloisi praised the efforts of the Club and the fans in creating a strong atmosphere.
“Our Club wanted to try and make it that we got the biggest crowd possible, and they did really well to try and get that and worked hard,” he said.
“I feel for us because it was our home game and we weren’t able to get a bigger crowd, even though it was a good crowd.”
Asked again about the state of Australian football after those events, Aloisi offered another passionate call to fans of the game to look forwards together.
“It upsets me when we put ourselves down so much. I mentioned it last week, and I’ll mention it again – don’t let a minority ruin our game, because our game is a great game,” he said.
“We want supporters coming to our game. They should feel safe, like they did today. Everyone felt safe in that stadium, our fans, players of course did, officials did. That’s the way it should be, we can create a good atmosphere in a safe environment. I’ll fight the fight because I love this game too much.”
United will turn the focus straight back onto the training pitch with a short turnaround before facing Brisbane Roar back at AAMI Park on Friday December 30 at 7:45pm AEDT.