Football 1 year ago

Victory aim to keep hot form for FFA Cup

  • Victory aim to keep hot form for FFA Cup

    GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - JULY 31: Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat looks on during the match between Melbourne Victory and Atletico de Madrid at Simonds Stadium on July 31, 2016 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Melbourne Victory have beaten the two most-recent UEFA Champions League finalists in the past fortnight but can they do it on a cold and wet Wednesday night in Newcastle?

That's the challenge facing Kevin Muscat as the FFA Cup holders begin their defence at Magic Park against A-League rivals Newcastle.

Wins over powerhouses Juventus and Atletico Madrid in the International Champions Cup might seem a distant memory when Victory run out at the suburban ground, with 20mm of rain forecast on Wednesday.

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It's a different task in an unfamiliar setting but Muscat says the challenge will be just as tough, if lacking in profile.

"There's no room for a comedown or complacency," he said.

"There's some serious competition for places as well. Anyone that goes out there and represents us tomorrow night would want to put their best foot forward.

"I certainly want to be in the hat come Thursday morning."

Two of Victory's players might show some extra pep in their step in Newcastle after winning praise from influential Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone.

The Argentine singled out Leigh Broxham and Besart Berisha as star performers in their 1-0 win in Geelong.

"They're interesting players and it is a strong team," Simeone said.

"They're very compact and they work a lot. They showed it against Juve and against us - they competed well."

Jets coach Scott Miller has promised an aggressive new game style this season, beginning on Wednesday night.

Muscat said that promise and new players in the Jets' camp made it better for Victory to "concentrate on ourselves".

"I've seen some real progress against Juventus and Atletico, some progress that pleased me," he said.

"At this point in time, all the A-League teams have an equal chance of going through to the next round and hopefully, from our point of view, that's what happens."

In Wednesday's other action, A-League champions Adelaide United head to Queensland to play Redlands United.

Canberra Olympic (ACT) also host Surfers Paradise Apollo (Qld), while Manly United (NSW) head across town to play Bonnyrigg White Eagles (NSW).

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