Kevin Muscat pleased with pre-season progress


Melbourne Victory head coach Kevin Muscat says his team has built a strong platform in the pre-season so far, as the club builds for the upcoming Hyundai A-League season.

Victory has completed a month of intense training and competitive matches, securing wins over Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Newcastle Jets.

The win over the Jets sent Victory through to the Round of 16 in the Westfield FFA Cup.

“Considering we’ve been back exactly a month now, I couldn’t be any more pleased with the progress at this point,” Muscat said.

“We find ourselves exactly where we want to be, in the next round of the competition.

“It gives us a chance to start planning for the second and third stages of the pre-season.

“Managing the loads and managing individuals over this period has been given a lot of thought.

“It’s a credit to all the staff for their input, and then obviously the application is down to the players. They should be fairly pleased with themselves.

“To come out unscathed and through to the next round is very positive.”

Muscat was pleased with the team’s performance against the Jets at a rain-soaked Magic Park, particularly after striker Besart Berisha was forced off the pitch in the first half.

His replacement, George Howard, looked lively after coming off the bench and scored the match-sealing goal in the 87th minute.

“For a period there after we scored Bes was struggling, and he was trying in vain to run it off with his cramps,” Muscat said.

“It was a good test for us. Young George came on and worked very hard.

“It just goes to show, he hung in there and worked hard and in the end he got his reward.”

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