Victory boss concerned for injured players
Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou says referees are being swayed by A-League crowds instead of checking on the welfare of injured players.
Postecoglou was angry his midfielder Gui Finkler was forced to crawl over the sideline after suffering a season-ending knee injury this week and claimed the referee was influenced by the Western Sydney crowd who believed the Brazilian was faking.
"He's (Finkler) done his ACL and he's had to crawl off the pitch without getting any medical help from our people," Postecoglou said.
"It's easy for referees to get swayed by crowds who think people are simulating or pretending to be hurt."
Ahead of their clash with Wellington Phoenix in Melbourne on Saturday Postecoglou said it wasn't the first time it had happened and he intended to speak to the A-League hierarchy about it.
He made clear it wasn't an issue with referees about decisions but a duty of care for players.
"While trying to stamp out one area of the game (simulation) that people don't find appealing we must also remember that ... they're putting their bodies on the line.
"Supporting, officiating or coaching are non-contact activities so for us to sit there and decide whether he's hurt or not, it's pretty disappointing."
The fourth-placed Victory host the Phoenix, who succumbed 2-1 to Brisbane in their last outing.
Melbourne are also coming off a loss to the Wanderers with Postecoglou not giving away who was set to start in Finkler's place, although Mark Milligan returns from a two-match suspension.
"There's a couple who can share the load through there so we'll look at some different options," he said.
"We get Mark Milligan back which is a massive bonus.
"He's been a big part of our year and it's a heavy program so to be able to bring someone like him in who's fresh really helps us."
The Phoenix are seventh on the ladder but Postecoglou was wary of their strengths, such as in-form striker Jeremy Brockie.
They will be without midfielder Manny Muscat who has been suspended for three matches.
"They've had a couple of narrow losses they could have easily won," Postecoglou said.
"At their best they're a tough nut to crack but so are we."