In-form Victory focused on Mariners challenge

Fresh from inking a new two-year deal this week, Kevin Muscat has quickly turned his focus to Sunday’s clash with Central Coast Mariners as Victory look to jump to third in the Hyundai A-League.

Victory host the Mariners at AAMI Park on Sunday knowing a win will see them leapfrog fierce neighbours Melbourne City into third on the ladder.

Muscat’s men have been on an up-turn in from both in the Hyundai A-League and AFC Champions League in recent weeks, boosting belief the club can challenge on both fronts in coming months.

“We’ve adjusted things and done a few things differently in terms of structure. The performances have been good and let’s not forget, we lost two players in the January window as well,” Muscat said.

“There has been a lot of challenges thrown at the group and we’ve certainly answered those challenges.

“It’s not finished and there’s still a lot to play for. At this moment, we’re still alive in the Champions League and our destiny is in our own hands.

“We’ve still got a lot to play for in the A-League, so we will wait and see how this season pans out.

“Looking forward, there is work to do. But the focus is on the here and now. We are in an exciting position where we can have a say on both competitions we are in and we look forward to that challenge.”

Melbourne Victory celebrate
Victory players celebrate their win in the ACL on Tuesday night.

In an added boost for Muscat, Victory are set to welcome back midfield pair Carl Valeri and Mathias Sanchez for Sunday’s clash with the lowly Mariners.

“It will be a tough game for us. We’ve had two draws against them this season,” the Victory boss said.

“They’ve [Mariners] certainly got some threats of their own, especially when they win the ball back and transition with pace in attacking areas.

“We need to control what we do to the best of our ability. We’ve had five days to prepare and we are looking forward to focusing on the A-League.”