Postecoglou rallies fans ahead of derby


Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou believes the club’s supporters will make Saturday night’s derby ‘feel like a home game’.

Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou believes the club’s supporters will make Saturday night’s derby ‘feel like a home game’.

Melbourne Heart – Victory’s cross-town rivals – are hosting the fixture at AAMI Park and expect a crowd of more than 30,000 fans to fill the venue.

Victory have won just one of the seven derbies against Heart, with that triumph coming more than two years ago when Robbie Kruse’s double fired them to a 3-1 success.

And Postecoglou said the vocal support from his club’s fans can inspire his players to reverse their poor record against John Aloisi’s side.

“It’s still our home game, yeah?” Postecoglou joked after the club’s training session on Friday.

“Like our players are up for it, I’m sure our supporters are up for it. They are probably preparing at the moment. Whatever workplace they are in at the moment, they are probably making it hell for their work-mates preparing for tomorrow night.

“We hope that it’s a fantastic spectacle. We saw the Sydney derby last week and I thought the atmosphere was cracking. I’m sure tomorrow will be… our supporters have always set the benchmark and I’m sure that they will set a really good atmosphere.

“It’s going to be fantastic for us because it will feel like a home game and that can only help you.”

Postecoglou has only taken charge of one Melbourne derby, which ended in a Heart triumph as goals from David Williams and Dylan Macallister gave them a 2-1 win.

The new Victory coach said he is hell-bent on improving his club’s poor record against the Heart and he is under no illusions as to the importance of the match.

“I guess the Round 1 defeat hammers it home to you,” he said.

“I understand how important this is for everyone associated with our football club. The supporters want desperately to win. Everyone involved in our football club is desperate to win, as am I. We need to win tomorrow night.

“(In Round 1) we missed a great opportunity. We just didn’t show it on the day. Tomorrow is another great opportunity to make some special memories for our football club, our fans and when those come along, you want to take them.”

Postecoglou is expecting a physical contest at AAMI Park but has warned his players not to cross the line.

“We want to see a cracking game and the physical stuff is part of it,” he said.

“We want to play with a good energy and passion for a contest. (There’s) no point going out there being sterile about things. The players know where the boundaries are (though).”

Postecoglou also said he would ‘definitely’ stick with the starting 11 that played out a 1-1 draw against the Brisbane Roar, easing fitness concerns over Billy Celeski (back) and Mark Milligan (hamstring).