Rest in order for Victory ahead of ACL group finale


Melbourne Victory players will enjoy a welcome rest ahead of their next challenge – the final group game in the 2016 AFC Champions League.

After an incredibly hectic schedule, Victory has two weeks to prepare for its next assignment against Gamba Osaka at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on Tuesday, May 3.

“It’s been a really busy last two months for us. We’ve been flying everywhere,” said Victory defender Nick Ansell.

“It’s been hard, but we’ve enjoyed it as well. Obviously we’ve had some frustrating results go our way, but we’re looking forward to resting up.”

Ansell made a rare start in the centre of defence in Tuesday’s 3-1 ACL loss to Shanghai SIPG, after an injury-interrupted season.

He recovered from a nasty fall in the second half to see out the match, along with captain Carl Valeri, who also played the full 90 minutes.

“It’s been a frustrating one. I came back from the foot and had a little quad injury on the way back,” Ansell said.

“I got through the 90 minutes and I feel really good at the moment.”

Ansell described the loss to Shanghai as disappointing, but said the team drew confidence from the amount of genuine chances it was able to create.

The club’s sole focus now is qualifying for the ACL Round of 16, which will be achieved if it defeats Gamba at home, or matches the result of the clash between Suwon Bluewings and Shanghai SIPG on the same day.

“We’re still second in the group and we’re looking forward to that last game,” Ansell said.

“We’ve got to really push to get through this group stage.

“That’s our main objective. We’ll get back to Melbourne and train hard for the next game.”