Melbourne Victory chairman Anthony Di Pietro on Wednesday claimed the club’s shock decision to sack coach Marco Kurz was solely based on ‘performance and results’.
But Herald Sun journalist David Davutovic says that’s not the whole story – and “there were clearly issues behind the scenes”.
Speaking with Adam Peacock on a special Fox Football podcast to dissect Victory’s coaching cull, Davutovic says there were two key factors that led to the club’s decision.
One was the series of ‘preventable’ injuries suffered by important players – potentially due to Marco Kurz’s demanding training style. The other is the negative style of football and the lack of confidence the team was playing with.
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Davutovic labelled the decision ‘a shock’, saying the club indicated at the start of the season that Kurz would be given at least a year to stamp his mark on the side.
But the campaign was struck down by a number of injuries – and Adam Peacock believes that may have been due to Kurz’s demanding coaching style.
Peacock said “Tim Hoogland has started just games one of 13. Robbie Kruse that started eight of 13. (Andrew) Nabbout has missed three games with a hamstring. Robbie Kruse has missed a couple. Thomas Deng has had a groin problem.
“All of those were soft tissue injuries – Tim Hoogland’s latest one that’s a knee, but before that it was a groin.
“That, married with the fact that we know Marco Kurz works the players hard. Have the players had something to do with it in terms of talking to the hierarchy?”
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While Duvatovic said “I don’t think it was a case of (veteran players) Leigh Broxham or Robbie Kruse marching in and demanding he be sacked”, he agreed that injuries played a role in Kurz’s sacking.
“There’s no doubt that was a factor. I know there was a difference in opinion in terms of the coaching staff and the conditioning staff at various stages.
“The soft tissue (injuries) – in the conditioning world, they say they’re the preventable ones.
“There’s no doubt that Tim Hoogland being rushed back too early (played a role). That Adelaide game away that he played and then he ended up missing another month.
“I think that the domino effect and the number of those injuries – and they have been worked pretty hard – that definitely contributed to his downfall.”
The team’s playing style has been characterised this campaign by a move away from aggressive, expansive football approach at the heart of Melbourne Victory’s identity.
And Davutovic says Kurz’s defensive strategies played a decisive factor in the decision.