Wellington Phoenix boss Ernie Merrick has told SBS that he canít wait to face Melbourne Victoryís potent attack. The New Zealand side have shown their own flair going forward this season but have failed in recent weeks to kill teams off despite dominating for long periods and creating numerous chances.
Merrick who led Victory to two A-League titles during his managerial reign in Victoria has criticized teams for their physical approach to taking on his side. The Scotsman and David Moyes lookalike is expecting a very different encounter at AAMI Park on Sunday and feels that playing against Besart Berisha, Kosta Barbarouses and Gui Finkler will bring the best out of his squad.
[quote]"Your standard always raises when you play good quality opposition who are focused on playing skilful football rather than stopping you playing and committing foul after foul. Victory's not that kind of team," he said. [/quote]
Merrick and the rest of the footballing world know that Victory boss, Kevin Muscat, is unlikely to pull any surprises. The former Socceroo hard man isnít known for Mourinho like tactical thinking or Tony Popovic tinkering. But Muscy does have the best attacking line up in the league and has a system set up to take full advantage of their strengths.
The mighty deep dark blue will be with out Adrian Leijer who is currently in China putting pen to paper on a lucrative move, which means Matthieu Delpierre may be called back in to action after some time out with injury. Macedonian international Daniel Georgievski also returns to the squad along with midfielder Jesse Makarounas but I donít expect either to make the starting line-up as Muscat looks to keep things the same. Captain Mark Milligan will be back after his suspension though and will take up the job of controlling Spaniard Albert Riera. Riera is the player that keeps everything ticking over for Wellington and if Victory can stop him we will be well on the way to another three points.
Wellington will have new signing Joel Griffiths available but will be without Louis Fenton and Matthew Ridenton for the clash.