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Premier League's best youngsters are English

Tactics and Analysis 6 hours ago
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Feb 10, 2012

Melbourne Victory are now Magilton's team

It was the thing Melbourne Victory coach Jim Magilton could least afford.

Now it looks like it could pay off.

Patience, usually a no-no for coaches on short-term deals like Magilton, has helped the Victory kick-start their finals tilt with a shock 2-1 win over A-League leaders Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park on Friday night.

Magilton persisted with what he inherited for his first five matches in charge, with four draws and a heavy loss the result.

But he unveiled a radically different team against the Mariners - perhaps having got a handle on his players, weeded out the coach-killers and found what he believes is the group capable of taking the club to the finals.

"We're certainly getting closer to where I want us to go," Magilton said after his new-look side turned on a quality performance against a Mariners side who were also excellent.

"I'm just trying to create an overload, an extra man wherever we can.

"We kept possession of the ball, we took pride in our passing and we were threatening.

"Slowly but surely - it's building blocks. I'm chuffed - but I'm not getting carried away with this and nor are the players.

"We're still very much a work in progress but training has been lively, there has been a good feeling, we talked about the positives we took from last week and the players built on that."

Magilton said when he took over at the Victory he had to quickly work out the players who needed an arm around the shoulder, or a kick up the backside.

One in each category were pivotal in the Victory's win.

New Zealander Marco Rojas, bereft of confidence in Mehmet Durakovic's dying days, was back to his best - clearly benefiting from Magilton backing him in.

And talented but work-shy midfielder Carlos Hernandez, dropped for the past two matches after a hopeless performance against Sydney FC, returned to his creative self having learned the Northern Irishman is quite prepared to bench stars.

Magilton also moved centre-half Mark Milligan into a holding midfield role to good effect.

But the question is have the Victory got enough time to make the finals? They need a swag of points in their remaining six games to get there.

"I hope I'm standing here in five or six games and we've won all of them but there is no rest up, there is no let-up," Magilton said.

"We've got to go again and produce another performance like that at Brisbane (on Saturday).

"They are flying but we've got, I hope, a belief flowing through the team and confidence flowing through at the moment."

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