Muscat ready for physical semi-final


Melbourne Victory Head Coach Kevin Muscat believes his side will benefit from a physical affair with Sydney on Saturday night.

Victory travels to Sydney on the back of a dramatic 2-1 triumph over Adelaide United in last weekend’s Elimination Final at AAMI Park.

Victory and Sydney are competing for much more than just bragging rights on this occasion, as one side will confirm its place in next weekend’s Hyundai A-League Grand Final.

“All finals are (physical) aren’t they,” stated Muscat. “Last week against Adelaide was no different, so if it goes down that path we have had some practice and we are prepared for it.”

Victory will be aiming to pick up its first win over Sydney this season and the boss believes the club has devised a game plan that will give Victory the best possible chance of advancing.

On Victory’s approach towards Sydney:

“We’ve been working away diligently, devising a game plan. All our work and energy has been based on putting everything into a game plan, to go across to enemy territory.

“From our perspective, it has gone really well and the last two weeks is evidence of us getting stronger and stronger over a period of time. We certainly go there with confidence.

“We’ve concentrated all our energy on a game plan, different things – a new game plan if you like, to go across there and win. In the last fortnight, everybody has contributed and it is holding us in good stead.”

On squad morale:

“Everyone has contributed over the last couple of weeks and that is an indication as to where we’re at as a football club. We’re feeling good about ourselves and we’re looking forward to a do-or-die battle.

“We’re going across there, representing Melbourne, representing Victoria and we are looking forward to it.”

On Victory’s finals record:

“We’ve got a proven track record in these big encounters and I am certainly licking my lips about it.

“I can’t wait for a number of reasons. Going across into enemy territory for a big finals game, there’s a lot of expectation and there’s a place in the Grand Final up for grabs. There will be no coming back for one team after tomorrow night; there is a lot at stake.”

On what to expect from Sydney:

“All finals are (physical) aren’t they. Last week against Adelaide was no different, so if it goes down that path we have had some practice and we are prepared for it.

“The surface has been relayed, so we will so what that is like when we get there.

“If you turn up for a final and don’t expect a battle, you’ve misread the situation. We’re looking forward to that and can’t wait for the game to get going.”

On Besart Berisha:

“As you can imagine, he is as confident as you can be. He’s got a proven track record in these games and last week he didn’t disappoint. It was a fantastic strike.”

On Victory’s mentality ahead of the semi-final:

“It has been documented that they (Sydney) have an edge on us. I don’t understand their understanding of where we are physically. We are very content mentally and physically and only we truly know where we’re at.

“I’ve spent more time at the club this week than anyone and I can tell you that we’re in a good place.”