Victory’s derby hero cleared of serious injury
Melbourne Victory star Ola Toivonen has been cleared of serious injury and will be free for his team's busy January schedule, after their dominant derby win.
Victory coach Marco Kurz warned that they will only improve, while Robbie Kruse expressed relief that pressure had lifted from their German boss after the 2-1 win over Melbourne City.
Defender Tommy Deng, who has missed the last month through injury, is expected to miss January due to Olyroos duty, while right-back Anthony Lesiotis could also be picked by coach Graham Arnold.
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Swede Toivonen is suspended for Victory's home clash with Newcastle Jets on January 5, after picking up his fifth booking of the season when he was sitting on the bench.
But he is expected to be fit for the Round 14 visit to Central Coast, having lasted 62 minutes with a hip flexor strain that he is believed to have carried into the match.
"He felt something, I'm not sure (what the diagnosis is). I still wait. It's not a serious injury, but he couldn't finish the game," Kurz said.
"The reasons (Victory has underperformed) are clear, we have key players back after long injuries.
"One of the reasons is they need game time together must find a rhythm on the pitch. It needs time. They will improve."
Kruse warned his teammates they must capitalise after failing to follow on from the Round 8 win over Perth Glory.
"It's a massive win and (hopefully a turning point). But we thought that was this case against Perth.
"There needs to be more confidence and (the win) probably takes the pressure off a little bit more, which is really good for some of the younger players as well.
"I'm just really happy for everyone and for the gaffer (Kurz) and his staff because the pressure has been on him a lot which is probably our own doing. So it's positive."
City has a tough trip to A-League leaders Sydney FC on Sunday and could have four players unavailable in January due to Olyroos duty, with midfielder Connor Metcalfe, Denis Genreau, attacker Ramy Najjarine and keeper Tom Glover, who's just displaced Dean Bouzanis, in contention.
"We need to (impose) our play and be stronger. We need to be better in all (aspects) - tactically, physically, mentally. It's not a (huge) problem, but we need to improve," City coach Erick Mombaerts said.