It was the darkest night in the history of Australia’s biggest football club.
Melbourne Victory’s 7-0 drubbing at the hands of cross-town rivals Melbourne City on Saturday evening led to the parting of ways with coach Grant Brebner.
Brebner had remained steadfast that he would do all he could to turn around the club’s struggling fortunes but ultimately Saturday’s derby loss was the final nail in the coffin.
The defeat was yet another humiliating showing against their rivals who also beat them 6-0 back in March.
The Scotsman became the caretaker coach last year during the season restart before being given the full-time role in August.
Despite at first being apprehensive to take on the role, it’s believed Brebner’s attitude towards becoming coach shifted quickly following his time in the Sydney hub.
The move was received positively due to Brebner’s longstanding connection with the club and promise to go back to an attacking game-plan coined the “Victory style”, along with his pledge to provide opportunities to young players.
Melbourne City made light work of their cross-town rivals on Saturday.Source:Getty Images
However, throughout his time in charge, Brebner dealt with a range of issues, including an injury crisis similar to those which have plagued the club for the past couple of seasons. Underwhelming performances from key players added to the coach’s woes.
Imports Ryan Shotton and Rudy Gestede have struggled to overcome soft-tissue injuries while Marco Rojas has also missed nine games and captain Leigh Broxham has been out for a month.
Jacob Butterfield and Callum McManaman have featured regularly but have failed to produce consistently, despite the latter showing obvious quality.
Brebner did, however, blood nine players under the age of 21 who have all been given sustained minutes this season.
Defensively, the absence of Shotton had left Brebner scrambling to find his best defensive mix to try fill the gaps in the heart of the back-four.
The numbers in Shotton’s absence are damning having conceded a remarkable 32 of their 42 goals this season when he has missed.
At the other end, Victory have struggled to put the ball in the back of the net, scoring a miserly 15 goals for the season – a far-cry from the promised return to their attacking roots.
Gestede has only scored three goals from his limited appearances so far this season while Robbie Kruse, Elvis Kamsoba, Ben Folami and Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio have only combined for one goal.
Exacerbating their attacking struggles has been their lack of cohesion with their midfield who have failed to provide silver-service for their struggling attack.
Victory’s passionate fanbase have also directed the blame at under-pressure chairman Anthony Di Pietro, demanding his resignation from the club.
Di Pietro, chief executive Trent Jacobs and technical director Drew Sherman have in recent times been held responsible for Victory’s underwhelming transfer business.
Assistants Jean-Paul de Marigny and former EPL boss Steve Kean are believed to be in the mix to take over on an interim basis for the rest of the season with an announcement expected this week.
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