Melbourne City midfielder Luke Brattan has declared Hyundai A-League opponents are doing anything they can to stop his team's momentum, but has insisted they are prepared for the physical battle.
Much has been made of City's increased physicality this season, with John van 't Schip's side having conceded the most fouls (187) of the 2016/17 Season and accumulated the most disciplinary points, which is a combination of fouls and cards.
But with City having also won the most free-kicks (177) alongside Adelaide United this term, Brattan has argued his team are just matching the type of treatment they're copping themselves.
After drawing 1-1 away to Sydney FC in a top-of-the-table clash last week, Brattan is expecting another tough game when City, who are second, host third-placed Melbourne Victory in a potentially explosive derby on Saturday night.
"I think every team that plays us now will be physical," he said on Tuesday.
"You know, we've seen over the last couple of weeks - they're going to try and kick us and stop the momentum in the game because, you know, we play possession football, quick free-kicks and all that, and I think teams are catching onto that.
"Of course, adding to that, it's a derby. So of course it's going to be physical but I think we've proven we can match the physicality of teams and let our football do the talking."
While Brattan may claim teams are trying to slow City down with fouls, the Bundoora-based club have still conceded more free-kicks than their opponents in their past three matches.
Victory, who have played one less match than City, have received the fewest cards of any Hyundai A-League team in 2016-17, although they are sixth for fouls.
City blitzed Victory both with and without the ball in the opening derby of the A-League season as Van 't Schip's troops triumphed 4-1 at Etihad Stadium.
When asked about City's physicality on Wednesday, Victory's Leigh Broxham insisted the reality hasn't justified the hype.
"In Round 2 we were obviously disappointed with the way the game went from a lot of different angles, whether it was the physicality or just in general," he said.
"So we knew what to expect in the FFA Cup when we played them then and it was a very physical game both ways, so it's not to say we can't do it ourselves.
"It's part of the game and we have to be up for it, and as a player, I haven't really come away from the game it was any more physical than any others."