Melbourne keen to ride momentum
Melbourne Victory pair Rody Vargas and Nick Ward are well aware that the momentum gained from the come-from-behind win over Sydney could be lost with sub-par performances against top pair Queensland and Adelaide in the next week.
Coming off the back of one of the best wins in the club's history, Melbourne Victory pair Rody Vargas and Nick Ward are well aware that the momentum gained from the come-from-behind win over Sydney could be lost with sub-par performances against top pair Queensland and Adelaide in the next week.
The next two matches at Telstra Dome, Friday against Queensland and Tuesday against Adelaide, loom as the two most important of Victory's campaign so far and will play a large part in determining where the club finishes at season's end.
The Roar have gone unbeaten through their last five games to propel themselves up to second, one point behind the Reds and level on points with Victory, who broke a three-match losing streak with their spectacular 3-2 win over Sydney.
Vargas said the win over Sydney could be a turning point, but Melbourne needed to carry that momentum into the next two matches.
"Queensland are on a good run, probably the form side of the league at the moment. Adelaide, as well, these are teams we are going to have to battle in the finals if we make it. It's good preparation for us," he said.
"Queensland and Adelaide have been the form sides of the year, it's a great test for us to see where we are at, and hopefully we can back up after this week."
Ward, who scored his first goal of the season on the weekend, said the players knew that the win over Sydney would count for little if they could not go on with it.
"A lot of the games we are playing at the end are all against the teams around the top four. This one on the weekend is massive for us, we get a win and then it puts us a buffer between us. We are all aware of that," Ward said.
Melbourne still has its feet firmly on the ground, with Vargas saying that there were plenty of areas to work on.
"It was a very good win for us, character building. We do have character and we can fight back. We went through some video analysis in the morning. Like every good team we've got things we need to improve on and we'll do that for the finals," he said.
One of those areas is defence, with the Victory conceding 11 goals in their past three games. It is something Vargas as a central defender, is well aware of, and he emphasised the need for a total team approach to defensive responsibilities.
"One thing we make clear is that when we talk about defending, we defend as a team, we're not talking about the back four or defensive midfield," he said.
"When Ernie talks about defending, it's from the strikers, the midfielders and the backline. We want to tighten that up."