Brebner gets ‘brutal’ to stop Victory rot

Besieged coach Grant Brebner has turned “ruthless” in a bid to stop the rot at Melbourne Victory.

The last-placed Victory are starting down the barrel of their ninth defeat of a horror season when they meet reigning champions Sydney FC at Jubilee Stadium on Saturday night.

The “Big Blue” was once the A-League’s marquee match and rivalry.

But such is the Victory’s current state, the latest edition of the contest is shaping as a one-sided affair in which a Sydney win is inevitable.

Unless Brebner can conjure a miracle with his new aggressive attitude.

“It has to change,” Brebner said.

“There’s definitely a different feeling … there’s now conversations being had, there’s now emotions and feelings that are coming out in people that six, seven games ago, we didn’t have.

“There comes a point now where as head coach of this football club, the decisions that are being made will be brutal and ruthless because that’s where we’re at.

“Now we need to start looking at long-term decisions, rather than immediate decisions.”

"I genuinely believe in this team"

Brebner also questioned his players’ desire to “put their bodies on the line and give everything they have”.

“If you’re guilty and you’re thinking that you could be in that bracket, then you probably will be,” he said.

“I’ve had individual conversations with players and they’ll remain within the four walls, but … we’re not at the point now where we’re papering over cracks, we are in a position where now we need to stand up individually, collectively and more importantly for everybody that supports this fantastic football club.”

Brebner hoped to have former English Premier League defender Ryan Shotton back from injury this weekend.

The 32-year-old former Stoke City, Birmingham City, Wigan, Derby County and Middlesbrough centre-back has missed the Victory’s past three matches, all defeats, including the humiliating 6-0 loss to Melbourne City on March 6.

“He’s an experienced player,” Brebner said.

“It doesn’t always come down to what you do on the ball, it comes down to what you can do to affect others, and he’s certainly a player that everybody’s noticed and everybody’s commented on – he can affect us in a positive way.

“There’s no doubt that he had been in the back four over the last few weeks, we wouldn’t have shipped the goals we’ve shipped, so yes, I’m looking forward to getting him back if and when he comes back.”

Brebner said playing interstate would help his struggling side after three successive matches in Melbourne.

“We’ve got a really good opportunity to go up there (and) not have the home pressure on our back,” he said.

“We need to go up there and make it uncomfortable for them (Sydney).”

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