Kevin Muscat: No one is safe in starting XI


Melbourne Victory head coach Kevin Muscat says his team took another positive step forward in its 3-1 pre-season friendly win over Sydney FC at AAMI Park on Wednesday.

Goals to Marco Rojas, Mitch Austin and Besart Berisha ensured Victory maintained its unbeaten start to the pre-season, a month out from the opening round of the new Hyundai A-League season.

“We asked the group for some improvements from our last game, and I thought in general it was decent,” Muscat said.

“Structurally, we were sound and we got through that front press on a number of occasions. We could’ve been more productive in breaking through that next line.

“Once we did get the ball to Mitch (Austin) and Marco (Rojas) in wide areas where they were isolated, they looked dangerous. From that perspective I’m relatively pleased.

“We’re not there yet, but we’ve made some progress.”

Victory’s depth has increased over recent months, with the likes of Leigh Broxham, Nick Ansell, Daniel Georgievski and Fahid Ben Khalfallah starting the game on the bench.

Muscat said next week’s behind-closed-doors friendly against Adelaide United will give a chance for those players and others to impress as the battle intensifies for spots in the club’s first-choice team.

“There’s a lot of competition for places now and I know we say that every year, but I’m genuine when I say it,” Muscat said.

“That’s the way it’s got to be. There’s not too many that are safe, and that’s the reality.

“At the end of the day, I won’t dictate the team. I’ll pick it, but the players will dictate who’s in the starting 11.”

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