Don’t forget me! Swede steps into Victory limelight
MELBOURNE Victory goalscorer Ola Toivonen revealed the secret behind his sudden post-injury impact, admitting it was nice to jump into the ever-growing spotlight occupied by Keisuke Honda.
Toivonen produced his best and first 90-minute display for Victory, having a big hand in the opener before scoring the sealer in the 2-0 win over Adelaide United on Saturday.
Defender Georg Niedermeier remains in doubt for Friday's visit to Brisbane Roar after rolling his ankle, with coach Kevin Muscat paying tribute to his players' adaptability after the early injury caused a mass reshuffle.
Victory keeps pace with leaders Perth Glory, who beat Melbourne City 1-0 on Saturday night via a Chris Ikonomidis goal, in opening up a gap from the rest of the top six.
Toivonen, 32, divulged the simple exercise that's helped him score twice in his four games since returning, adding that he enjoyed making headlines with his fellow 2018 World Cup performer despite his apparent media shyness.
"It's always good (to be in the headlines). Keisuke is important for us as well as Kosta (Barbarouses) and me, and Tezza (Terry Antonis) was before everyone else got going. So now we've got everyone in full speed, so that's good,'' Toivonen said.
"I feel strong. Of course some periods your legs are heavy but that's normal in a game.
"I've been working hard with (high performance chief) Anthony (Crea) in the physical aspects. There was a lot of gym and calf raises because of my injury, so it's been good.
"You're concerned before you go into the scan, but when I saw the scan results, everyone was happy. It was only three weeks (out).
"You can see the depth we have in the team at the moment, we have a lot of injuries before the game. Now one more injury happened, but whoever comes in gives 100 per cent effort. We didn't do any mistakes in the whole game, so perfect.
"It's good for the moment. We're playing good, we're keeping patient and we like to play football."
Leigh Broxham was superb in a customary reshuffle from midfield to defence within 10 minutes after Niedermeier's loss, with Antonis also dropping deeper after James Troisi came on.
"We've been a bit like that - players coming in, dropping out. We had to reshuffle after a few minutes. Credit to Terry and Leigh who had to restructure,'' Victory coach Kevin Muscat said.
"James has to come on, hasn't trained much, had to dig deep for the team. Players coming in and changing roles - real credit to the staff and their work during the week, giving the players the information they need to (be adaptable).
"It tests us. We're building, can see a really good togetherness."