Brisbane Roar coach Mike Mulvey says the new Premiers’ lacklustre first half in Friday night’s 2-1 win over Melbourne Heart will not be seen again.
Second-bottom Heart bossed much of the opening period and deservedly led through Aziz Behich, before Brisbane fought back to victory at Suncorp Stadium despite Besart Berisha’s red card.
“I think we got out of jail,” Mulvey said of the first half.
“They tore us apart. Not through brilliant incisive football but through our sluggishness.”
Mulvey was quick to forgive his players though, especially given their second half turnaround where substitute Henrique curled home a classy late winner.
“I’ll allow them that one, that first half, because I know the effort we have put in,” he said.
“We will lock that away in a box. That will never be seen again.
“The second half however was a credit to the players.”
Berisha’s sending off, his third of the season, only served to further spark the hosts after referee Chris Beath took a dim view of the Albanian’s 49th minute challenge on Heart ‘keeper Tando Velaphi.
“We felt it was unjust and we reacted accordingly,” Mulvey said.
“I think it was the wrong decision. It’s like flavour of the month at the moment – there’s Bes, let’s give him a red card.
“We will appeal this. In fact I don’t think we will even need to appeal it because I think they’ll have a look at it and say ‘hang on a minute, this is not the right decision’.”
Though suggesting Berisha’s challenges required more caution, Melbourne Heat boss John van’t Schip refrained from criticising the Melbourne Victory-bound striker.
“It’s very hard to say he didn’t come with his shoe in the face of the goalkeeper even though it was not on purpose,” he said.
“It’s very unlucky but also he has to maybe be a little bit more careful. It’s not the first time of course.”
The newly-reappointed coach was disappointed with his side’s inability to make more of their advantage but revealed most of those involved would return for next term.
“There’s a lot of work ahead of us because all of the players on the pitch today – or almost all of them – are going to be contracted for next season,” van’t Schip said.
“We know that we have to improve and get better because this is not good enough.”