Guilherme Finkler says Melbourne Victory won't alter their preparations for the A-League semi-finals despite facing crosstown nemesis Melbourne City.
Kevin Muscat's Premiers' Plate winners are favourites to go on and secure their first championship crown since 2009 but have encountered an unexpected hurdle in the form of City, who upset Wellington Phoenix 2-0 away from home on Sunday to book a massive last-four showdown between the local rivals.
Etihad Stadium is expected to be packed for the first Melbourne derby final in A-League playoff history, but Victory's Brazilian playmaker claims the enormity of the occasion won't be permitted to affect the squad's mentality.
"It's a derby game, everyone wants to win," he said.
"We won the premiership. We celebrated for a few hours (but) now we're really focused on this game. We didn't know who we were going to play against and now we know it's City. We've been preparing all last week and we're not going to do (anything) different.
"It's going to be full of Melbourne Victory supporters at Etihad, they're going to be really loud and push us on to produce a good performance."
Pressed on whether or not City's habit of surprising the more-fancied Victory in derbies would prompt Muscat's men to change their approach, Finkler said:
"It's no different. It's a special game, but I think we're going to prepare ourselves like we're going to play (against) any other team. We're going to focus on what they've been doing, the coaching staff are going to have a look and we're going to prepare ourselves really (well) for this game.
"Soccer is about moments. That's the moment (to play well), it's a semi-final, it's a derby."
Finkler also believes Victory will gain an advantage from having enjoyed the weekend off, while City make the long trip back from New Zealand on Monday, leaving them with just three full days to prepare for the match.
"Everyone is fresh," he said.
"They played on Sunday, I think they are travelling today. It's a long trip. You lose all day travelling, it's not easy. I'd prefer to be in Melbourne resting."