Brisbane Roar coach Mike Mulvey believes his newly-crowned premiers deserve to be celebrated as champions after capturing the regular season title on Saturday night.
Luke Brattan’s brilliant 92nd minute bullet was enough to beat Melbourne Victory 1-0 at Suncorp Stadium and seal Roar’s second A-League premiership.
“We believe we’ve earned the right to be champions right now,” Mulvey said.
“But there’s a new competition starting which is what the main silverware is about and we’re up for that.”
Though acknowledging a couple of players were playing through the pain barrier, Mulvey expressed his clear intention for Brisbane to win all three of their remaining regular season games.
“If we don’t have that vision and we don’t have that dream, then what are we doing?” he asked.
“This is our stated aim, this is what we’re trying to achieve. Tonight is a momentary pause for celebration.”
Matchwinner Brattan revealed claiming the premiers’ plate was a greater achievement for him than being part of two Grand Final-winning squads.
“I think personally [it is], yeah,” the midfielder said.
“Even though I did win two championships back then I feel as though because I didn’t play as much I wasn’t a part of it.
“Now coming into this season … Mike’s given me the chance to start and be a part of this brilliant team we’ve got going it definitely means a lot more to me.”
Winning his first piece of A-League silverware and ensuring Brisbane’s qualification for the Asian Champions League also represents a high for Mulvey’s coaching tenure, which began with Brisbane languishing second from bottom midway through last term.
“If that was just me achieving something on my own [it would be] pretty shallow,” he said.
“But I’ve got blokes like Luke in the dressing room, I’ve got staff who have given their all for this club and the cause and they’ve all bought into the vision.”
Though pleased with his players’ effort, opposite number Kevin Muscat expressed disappointment with the late loss and refereeing performance.
“Mixed amongst a severe disappointment I’m thoroughly proud of the boys,” the Victory boss said.
“It’s a hard place to come and I don’t think any decision that was 50-50 went our way.”