Football 2 years ago

Victory eye points over Phoenix

  • Victory eye points over Phoenix

There's no concern at Melbourne Victory about ending up on the wrong side of an emerging gulf in the A-League ladder.

Sydney FC's late 3-1 win over Central Coast has Graham Arnold's side six points clear of the champions early in the season, with Brisbane Roar and Newcastle Jets also having bagged three wins to Victory's sole derby triumph to date.

On Monday night, a similar smash-and-grab job from Wellington Phoenix to their last visit to Melbourne would put Ernie Merrick's side into a high-flying top four, all at least five points clear of Victory.

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Muscat isn't fazed.

That's because in his view, Victory have been superior in each of their matches so far, even if they don't have the wins to show for it.

"In the three game so far we've been the dominant team, the better team," he said.

"Yes we would have liked more points (but) are we concerned about the way we're playing? No we're not.

"There's still a lot of football to be played and it's still too early in the season to start worrying about what other teams are doing."

Muscat's view means he is likely to stick by his established eleven against the Phoenix, returning captain Carl Valeri, Gui Finkler, Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Daniel Georgievski to the team after their mid-week FFA Cup triumph.

Olyroos defenders Scott Galloway, Jason Geria and Giancarlo Gallifuoco are likely to return to the bench.

The wildcard in Wellington's visit to Melbourne is their reaction to Football Federation Australia's decision to deny the Kiwis a long-term license in the A-League.

But Muscat refused to be drawn into how it might affect Ernie Merrick's side.

"How can anyone outside of their environment say (the effect) with any confidence?" he asked.

"What I do know is it's going to be a hell of a game ... that's where I've been focusing all my energy."

Instead, Muscat is focussing his side on bagging three points to keep the point gap to leaders Sydney in check.

"That'll get cut down to three after tomorrow night," he said.

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