‘Some of the best stuff I’ve played in the last two years’: Barbarouses relishing striking role

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Kosta Barbarouses believes a positional change is bringing the best out of him despite Melbourne Victory’s two losses in the opening two rounds of the A-League season.

The Kiwi winger has thrived since his re-deployment from a winger to a striker in Kevin Muscat’s new-look 4-4-2 system, and reckons he’s hitting an excellent patch of form.

“I really really like it, I think it’s a great position for me,” Barbarouses said.

“It’s hard to say with two losses it’s going well but I think it’s some of the best stuff I’ve played in the last two years to be honest.”

Paired up with Kenny Athiu in rounds one and two, the duo are yet to notch up a goal or an assist in back-to-back defeats to Melbourne City and Perth Glory.

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Barbarouses explained that the opportunities his supporting teammates will present to him has got him “licking his lips”.

Glory’s compact and defensive minded approach to shut out Victory’s narrow attack system was duly accomplished in Sunday evening’s defeat.

But on the rare occasion a Victory shirt snuck through, it was Victory’s number nine. His finishing might have let him down on the night, but the speed and intelligence that encompassed those incisive runs could be the spark Victory will very well bank on in future rounds.

Barbarouses also hinted that when Ola Toivonen returns, Victory will assume a similar formation. Despite not being able to cap off his 100th A-League appearance in Victory colours with a win, Barbarouses remains upbeat about his side’s performance.

“Two sloppy goals and we were chasing the game from there. We did so well to get back into it but it wasn’t meant to be,” he said.

“There’s no need to panic… there are too many positives signs to be negative at the moment.”

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Victory boss Kevin Muscat echoed his sentiments.

“I understand it’s a results based business, no one needs to tell me that, but there is a process, and we’re heading in the right direction,” said Muscat.

“There was certainly a lot to like in the way we get forward, create chances, force them (Glory) into their own box in the second half.

“As time goes on… we will eliminate the errors that, at the moment, are creeping up from time to time.”

Muscat admitted that he and his team were “not there yet”, but is confident that the new look formation will pay dividends in the long run.

Image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

Although not as dominant in their outing against Melbourne City, Victory enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, at 67.8%, and constantly brought out the best in Liam Reddy.

Victory’s spirited comeback cancelled Glory’s two goal lead, but any hope of pocketing the point were shattered by Ikonomidis’ winner in the depths of extra time.

Feature image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Ngau Kai Yan
Ngau Kai Yanhttp://ngaukaiyan.com
Journalism undergrad at Monash University, Kai is a multimedia journalist covering Melbourne Victory. Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund. Once "stole" Shinji Kagawa's plane ticket.

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