Kevin Muscat believes Melbourne Victory’s late arrival in China will not affect the outcome of Tuesday’s AFC Champions League clash with Shanghai SIPG.
While a small advance party, including Muscat and captain Carl Valeri, travelled to Shanghai on Sunday, the rest of the squad landed on Monday night.
The uncertainty of the Hyundai A-League 2016 Finals Series schedule last weekend prevented Victory from booking an earlier flight.
“We would have liked to be here earlier, but we don’t believe that it’s going to influence the outcome of the game,” Muscat told reporters in Shanghai on Monday.
“We’ve prepared for it.
“Physically, it’s a different challenge for us. But the fact that we’ve got here a little bit later than we normally would, it’s not going to be a problem.
“We haven’t finalised the starting team, but everybody has travelled and we don’t have anybody suspended for the game.
“Once we make a final assessment on the players in the morning, we will select the team that we think is best to get a positive result.”
With two games remaining, Victory is unbeaten in second place in Group G, three points behind leaders Shanghai SIPG.
Shanghai SIPG needs only a point to secure a spot in the Round of 16, while Victory can advance to the knockout stage with a win.
“We’ve watched Shanghai and, understanding their strengths, they have many effective players in attack,” Muscat said.
“I’m sure during periods of the game we’ll have to defend, and defend well.
“But our way of playing will be to try and score.
“The fact that we’ll have to defend well to create some chances of our own, understanding the quality of the opposition, is going to be difficult, but it’s a challenge we look forward to.”
Valeri, who made a successful return from illness last month, is preparing for his AFC Champions League debut in Shanghai.
“I never thought I’d be playing in the ACL, so to be here in Shanghai is amazing,” he said.
“It’s very exciting to play against such a good team and it’s going to be a tough challenge, but we’re going to stick to our guns and put in another good performance.
“We know if we can perform, we’ll get a good result.”
Victory’s match against Shanghai SIPG will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 505 from 9.00pm AEST.