Anonymity no problem for Miranda as he settles into life at Victory

With the world’s longest offseason in men’s football finally giving way to competitive football, Melbourne Victory defender Roderick Miranda is confident that his side can build upon the defensive solidity his side demonstrated against Western United in the months ahead. 

It almost certainly wasn’t in the job description he agreed to when he joined back in October, but Miranda, wearing the armband in the absence of Josh Brillante, served as his club’s matchwinner in their opening A-League Men fixture on Saturday: heading home in the 75th minute to secure a 1-0 win. 

While there was some clear signs of rust apparent in the performance, as well as areas needing to be addressed regardless of Victory’s early-season status, it was a performance the Portuguese junior international says can be built upon in the months ahead.  

“It was the perfect start we can say, we needed the three points — that’s the most important,” he said on Thursday. 

“But this game is in the past and now the most important one is the next one against Brisbane — our focus is only on that. 

“It was our first game, our first competitive game. So, of course, we have a lot of things to improve. Even though we did a lot of good things, that’s why we took the three points, but now for our next game, we need to improve and build on what we did well. 

“In the first half we didn’t have too much of the ball, we need to have more of the ball and more control of the game. But it was our first competitive game. I think there were seven new players in the team making their debut so there was a lot of concerns that were normal. But now for the second game, we’ll be better for sure. 

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“At least on the defensive way I think the team was very solid and very compact. We didn’t give too many chances to Western United. Defensively it was a good game by us, now we need to improve our offensive parts to try and score more goals.”

A former Benfica, Wolverhampton, Olympiacos, and Famalicão representative, Miranda is one of a number of new additions secured by Victory during this offseason — the club looking to quickly rebound from a horror season that saw them collect and unwanted first wooden-spoon in club history. 

Under the watch of coach Tony Popovic and new Head of Football John Didulica, he joined Rai Marchán, Francesco Margiotta, and Ivan Kelava as new foreign additions to Victory, alongside the likes of new Australian additions Jason Davidson, Chris Ikonomidis, and Brillante. 

While the A-League’s disproportionately long off-season did give these new additions plenty of time to mesh on the training ground, that long grind, and the lack of competitive games, did serve to hamper the club’s preparations. 

So to, did a number of stays in hotel quarantine for members of the squad, although that didn’t serve as much as an impediment to Miranda. Indeed, with his family in tow, the towering defender is enjoying settling into life Down Under.

“For me, [the long pre-season] was not too difficult but for the lads that were here for like 20 weeks of pre-season, it was much worse,” he grinned.  

“With this COVID situation, I think it’s an atypical time. We need to adjust, at least if we didn’t have competitive games but in the training and practice Tony pushed us hard all the time, to beat ourselves each day and get better each day. Now, as the games start everything will start flowing. 

“[Hotel quarantine wasn’t too difficult] because the club sorted me with everything I’d need: treadmill, bike and gym stuff in the room. Of course, it’s not easy with the family there in the room but I tried to get as much done as possible. 

“Here, what I like the most is the lifestyle that you can have. It’s different from Europe. Here I can go outside with my guys with my kids and nobody will upset me. 

“I can walk, I can do everything. The city has everything that I need, the club helped me with everything I need, so me and my family are very happy.”

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Header Image Credit: Melbourne Victory

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