(Reuters) – Head coach Grant Brebner put himself in the crosshairs after his Melbourne Victory side hit a new low on Saturday evening as the A-League strugglers were hammered 6-0 by neighbours Melbourne City.
The thumping loss leaves Victory rooted to the bottom of the standings and was the latest humiliation for a club that continues to fall well short of the standards of their recent past.
Less than three years after celebrating their fourth A-League success, the Melbourne club are looking at another disappointing campaign this season after finishing 10th last year.
“I would say that the finger should be pointed at me as head coach of the football club,” said Brebner, who has seen his side win just twice in 10 games so far this season.
“I have always said I take responsibility for nights like tonight. I’m not going to push the blame anywhere else.
“I’m the head coach of this football club and I’m the one that needs to look at the game tonight, analyse the game and come up with reasons why that happened.
“It’s not a finger pointing exercise, it’s not scapegoating, it’s reality.”
Brebner is in his first full season as head coach having worked as assistant last year, while the club recruited former Premier League players Callum McManaman and Rudy Gestede in the close season.
An impressive showing in the Asian Champions League in Qatar in November, when they reached the Round of 16 for the first time since 2016, suggested Victory had improved from the previous campaign.
But injuries to key players and a poor run of form has left the club struggling and Brebner believes the team is falling well short of its potential.
“This squad is absolutely better than what we are showing in league position and better than what we showed tonight,” he said.
“As I have always said I have full trust in the squad but tonight was a really poor showing.”
While there has been upheaval off the field, with director Richard Williams selling his stake in the club, Brebner believes the powers-that-be have continued to back him.
“The people in the hierarchy, the board and management have always had support for every head coach at this football club; they’ve always given their support, absolutely,” he said.
“I’ve seen a lot of managers that I’ve played for and worked for and absolutely the board and the management support their coaches.”
(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong; Editing by Christopher Cushing)