Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat says watching on as Elimination Finals played out last week has boosted his team’s desire ahead of their own post-season bow today against Brisbane in the semi final.
Victory finished second in the league, which allowed them a week off along with Premier’s Plate winners Sydney FC as they both watched with interest seeing Roar and Glory win through to week two of the finals.
Watching on, says Muscat, has given his rested squad renewed drive as they seek to qualify for a fourth grand final.
And despite not playing a game last weekend, Muscat was at pains to remind reporters that there’s been plenty of work both physical and mental after Victory’s last competitive game 16 days ago, in their Round 27 clash with the Mariners.
“We had a good opportunity to freshen the players up mentally. It was a bit of an indifferent end to the season, one that we’ve not really experienced before,” he told reporters on Saturday.
“So it was nice to have that weekend to freshen up then use that week to really zoom in on the players between the ears, then naturally you see the first finals and you just sense the adrenaline bubbling away.
“And training that week was superb. And this week we’ve had a really good week honing in on the tactical side of the game.”
Muscat added that after scoring 50 goals this season – including having the joint Golden Boot winner in Besart Berisha – the Big V was confident they can re-find their attacking fluency.
“Just look at our front third. That’ll give anyone confidence going into a game.”
Muscat added there were no fitness concerns with his squad and refused to buy into talk about Roar’s priorities this week as John Aloisi’s men juggled the ACL in Thailand with the A-League.
“Physically we’re in great shape and this week was about knuckling down and making sure we’re right structurally and tactically,” Muscat said.
And he’s expecting another boisterous Victorian crowd to spur on the Big V to a grand final spot.
“Nearly all those occasions [in the finals over the years] have ended with a good story [for Victory], so we’re looking forward to that again.”
In Victory selection news, Daniel Georgievski returns from suspension any young striker George Howard has been promoted.