Play on through cramped players: Muscat

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat says the game should move on when players go down with cramps.
Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat says the game should move on when players go down with cramps.

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat has called for a no-tolerance policy from referees on play stoppages for cramping players.

The four-time A-League champion was speaking in the wake of Victory's high-octane 3-3 draw with Wellington on Sunday night.

At AAMI Park the Phoenix attempted, as is widespread practice, to slow the match down at times given they were leading for much of the match.

"It's got to stop," he said.

"I'm beyond frustrated. I don't think it's good for our game ... we've got to stop this treatment for players getting cramp.

"If you create an overload in terms of numbers in an area of the park you create any advantage, you reap the rewards.

"If we can outrun a team, I don't understand why the advantage gets taken away from you.

"I don't see (cramp stoppages in sports) anywhere else."

Victory missed the chance to put pressure on league leaders Perth Glory with the draw, which came 24 hours after Tony Popovic's side dropped points to Melbourne City at the same venue.

Muscat instead focused on the champions' comeback, rather than their first-half fizzle.

"The way we played in that second half, very like us. Very like we want to be," he said.

"Considering how we came in at halftime it was an enormous effort.

"An enormous effort when we played some really good football and earned a very good result."

Showing how far the Phoenix have come under his management, coach Mark Rudan said he felt flat to only take a point from the home of the champions.

"It's quite tough to take being on the other side, particularly after being up 3-1," he said.

Rudan said he wanted his side to be ruthless and relentless when in front to join the ranks of the A-League's heavyweight clubs.

"The mentality needs to still change," he said.

"We've grown hugely from where we were last year.

"We need to continue to do the things that got us in that position in the first half irrespective if we're home or away or irrespective if we're against the champions or other."

Australian Associated Press