Kevin Muscat has 'nothing but admiration' for Melbourne Victory's depth
Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat has hailed the depth of his roster after claiming their first win of A-League season without marquee Keisuke Honda.
Questions might have asked of the defending champions after they won five straight but drew their past two matches with the Japan international on the sidelines.
However Muscat's side responded with a fighting 2-1 win over Western Sydney on Saturday night, with fellow import Ola Toivonen netting a historic brace.
It was the fifth time the Swede had scored in as many games -- a club first.
And while Toivonen was credited for causing the damage, Muscat praised the efforts of two players at opposite ends of their careers in youngster Josh Hope and veteran Leigh Broxham.
Hope made his first run-on start on the left wing, while Broxham was deployed in central defence in the absence of injured defender Nick Ansell.
Foreigners Raul Baena and Georg Niedermeier were also unavailable through injury.
"Josh Hope comes in for one of his few starts and he worked hard. He's still learning. Showed some really good signs like anyone coming into the standard of senior football," Muscat said.
"He needs to work on his conditioning and naturally when you fatigue, his decision-making becomes harder and your technique becomes harder.
"From that perspective, I've got nothing but admiration for the group."
Broxham produced a critical moment midway through the second half when, moments after the Wanderers equalised, he saved a goal-bound shot off the line.
"Last week he's playing in his more preferred position in midfield and it only lasted 10 minutes because Nick gets injured," Muscat said.
"So he's got to go to centre-back and I thought he was outstanding tonight.
"Leigh Broxham typified the performance that was needed with the conditions, with a very spirited Western Sydney team that asked a lot of questions of us."