Thursday, October 10, 2013

Victory coach says Kewell not the Heart of the matter

Victory coach says Harry Kewell is merely another player in an opposition team.

Victory coach says Harry Kewell is merely another player in an opposition team. Photo: Getty Images

There will be mixed emotions for Harry Kewell and Melbourne Victory fans when the former Victory marquee man runs out in the red and white of Melbourne Heart for Saturday night's derby clash at Etihad Stadium, given the frustrating season the Socceroos star spent in navy blue two years ago.

But for Ange Postecoglou there will be no emotion at all. Had things gone differently, the Victory coach could have had Kewell in his squad for his first season in charge at AAMI Park, but circumstances led to Kewell's departure for what became in 2012 a year in the footballing wilderness.

Now, says Postecoglou, Kewell is merely another player in an opposition team and, despite his quality, status and undoubted ability there will be no special plans made for him.

"I am not really concerned about him. I have zero interest in what other players from other clubs are doing. I am interested in what our club and our players are doing," Postecoglou said at a training session a day out from the game, stressing that making special arrangements for a player of Kewell's ilk is not the way Victory does things.


"I don't think we have ever targeted or singled out players, it's not the way I coach, it's not the way we play our football. It won't be any different to when we play Sydney with Alessandro (del Pierro) or Western Sydney with Shinji (Ono). Is not the way we do things. Tomorrow night will be (about) us and our performance and the way we play out football."

Kewell had an option to stay at Victory following that first season, but opted not to take it. Postecoglou, who was just coming in as coach, said he had two conversations with the former Leeds and Liverpool man but they lasted just five minutes.

"I had two phone calls with Harry to discuss the possibility of him coming back. It was pretty clear from the start that he had some personal family issues. You respect that and move on. it was probably five minutes of my pre-season, so (it was) that significant."

Victory will give A-League debuts to Mitch Nichols, Pablo Contreras and James Troisi, while new signing Rashid Mahazi, signed in the off season from Victorian Premier League club Northcote, is a strong chance to also be in the starting line up in a deeper midfield role alongside Leigh Broxham.

*Postecoglou confirmed that Victory skipper Mark Milligan was returning to Melbourne from France because of a problem with his knee injury but does not know how long the inpsirational midfielder will be out of action.

Victory's medical staff had requested that Milligan not make the trip to Europe for Saturday morning's match with Les Bleus, but were over-ruled by the national team medical set up who wanted to inspect him themselves.

"Our preference was that he stayed here. I don't think the trip did him any good but the reports this stage are that it's gone backwards. The national team medical department wanted him to go over there so they could assess him. Our medical department wrote to FFA and explained the situation. Our strong recommendation was that he didn't travel."

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