Motivation is not a problem at Melbourne Victory, with head coach Kevin Muscat declaring his players are hungry for improvement ahead of Friday night’s clash with Brisbane Roar.
Victory has won its past five games and is on an eight-game unbeaten run, which has taken Muscat’s men six points clear of third-placed City with a game in hand.
Ahead of three games in eight days starting with Roar at AAMI Park on Friday night, Victory is in a rich vein of form, and Muscat insists he has not cracked the whip to get his team there.
“The things that are driven from the playing group themselves bear the most weight. It’s as simple as that,” he said on Thursday.
“We’re travelling along very well at the moment in terms of the way we’re playing.
“There are players who are not in the team, who believe they should be in the team and it’s pretty simple – your history’s not going to get you back into the team.
“Being consistently better than the person who’s playing in your position is going to get you back into the team, so if you’re not thirsty and you’re not hungry for that, it’s not going to happen.
“Everyone will get an opportunity, everyone will be required at some point. It’s (about) making sure you’re prepared and ready for when that does happen.”
One player who will get an opportunity against Brisbane is Nick Ansell, who will replace suspended centre-back Alan Baro in Victory’s line-up.
But there is unlikely to be any changes in the forward third, with Muscat declaring Marco Rojas has proved his fitness after copping a knock to the ankle in last week’s 2-0 win over Adelaide United.
Ansell will most likely slot into the back four with James Donachie, Leigh Broxham and Jason Geria, with the latter having signed a contract extension until the end of the 2019/20 season on Wednesday.
Muscat said Geria’s decision was at least partly motivated by a desire to become the Caltex Socceroos‘ regular right-back.
“I think he’s made a good, solid decision that he wants to be the best player in his position in this country and in this competition,” Muscat said.
“I think we’re fortunate that he’s committed his future to the football club.”
Tickets for Victory’s game against Brisbane are available here.