After agreeing a three-year contract extension, Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat says he wants to repay the club’s faith by orchestrating a return to winning ways against the Newcastle Jets on Saturday.
It was announced on Boxing Day that Muscat has signed a deal taking him through to the end of the 2017-18 campaign, a major endorsement of the former club captain, who took over as head coach following Ange Postecoglou’s departure for the Socceroos job in October 2013.
And while gratified at earning a longer stay in the hot seat, the 41-year-old club stalwart remains focused on leading his players back to A-League’s glory.
“It certainly hasn’t distracted me from what we’re trying to achieve here,” he said.
“Without doubt, it helps planning going forward. We’ve tried to make decisions for the long term.
“That’s the great positive about our club, there’s been stability at the board level for a number of years now and for that to continue through to the football department it does give you a great deal of confidence.
“There’s an element of wanting to repay the faith that’s been shown in me.”
Victory suffered their first defeat of the season last Saturday, conceding in injury time to lose 1-0 to local rivals Melbourne City.
Prior to that reverse they were held to a 3-3 draw at home to Sydney FC and although Muscat has insisted there is no need to panic, he is keen to see a response from his team at home to the Jets this weekend.
“It’s an important game for us,” he said.
“We haven’t returned the number of points we wanted to in the last couple of games and we want to atone for that.
“You can’t rest on your laurels, we’re not about to do that. We’re going to show that last week was just one of those performances and put it behind us.
“We’ve gone 12 games, we’ve lost one. We haven’t been pleased with our performances. We need a reaction within the performance and how we go about playing.”
Muscat confirmed Brazilian playmaker Guilherme Finkler will start at AAMI Park, with veteran forward Archie Thompson likely to make way.
“There’s a number of players knocking on the door,” he said.
“We’ve tried a few things this week, there’ll be one or two coming into the team. Obviously Gui when he come on last week made a huge difference us, he poses a different threat to the opposition. Gui will start.”