Melbourne Victory head coach Kevin Muscat has stressed the importance of the club defending the Westfield FFA Cup in 2016.
The reigning Cup champions begin their campaign in New South Wales on Wednesday night against Newcastle Jets at Magic Park.
“We want to go across to Newcastle and win. We’ll go there with some real belief,” Muscat told the media on Tuesday.
“Having been involved right to the end of it last season, it’s a fantastic competition that has taken the country by storm in the short period of time that it’s been with us.
“It’s a competition we did well in last season. We’re excited about it and I certainly want to be in the hat come Thursday night.”
“For us to have the games we’ve had has been a blessing. Playing against good opposition, it’s easy to get the boys focussed,” he said.
“The first month of the pre-season has been exceptional. Everyone’s fit, everyone’s available and everyone wants to play.”
Jason Geria is the only key omission from the travelling squad, with the defender serving a one-game suspension.
Mitch Austin has been cleared of injury and will travel to Newcastle, along with captain Carl Valeri, who was rested for the game against Atletico at the weekend.
Jets coach Scott Miller said the match against Victory has been his team’s sole focus in the pre-season so far.
“My expectations are high, but also realistic. I am expecting us to produce a technical passing game through the thirds, aggressive movement, and also key passes,” he said.
“It is vital that our mentality is right going into the game. We want to progress to the next round but, more importantly on the back of that, if you do progress to the next round there is obviously a performance that underpins that.
“I am looking for a lot of energy, a lot of aggression, and putting a lot of pressure on Victory.”
While the game will not be broadcast on Fox Sports, a live stream will be provided at foxsports.com.au.
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