Merrick ready for catch-up

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick is determined to complete the club's 'summer trilogy' of matches in style as the reigning Hyundai A-League champions get the opportunity to take outright leadership of the table when they finally play their midweek catch-up game against Wellington Phoenix at Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night.

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick is determined to complete the club's 'summer trilogy' of matches in style as the reigning Hyundai A-League champions get the opportunity to take outright leadership of the table when they finally play their midweek catch-up game against Wellington Phoenix at Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night.

A week after thrashing Perth Glory 6-2 at home, Melbourne won the second of what will be three home games in ten days after beating Adelaide United 2-0 in front of another 20,000 plus home crowd on Saturday night.

The win put Melbourne back on top of the ladder from Gold Coast on goal difference and although third-placed Sydney - which is currently two points behind the top two - can return to the top by beating Newcastle on Sunday, the Victory still has a game in hand.

And while the other clubs have all played their midweek match, which have been spread throughout the competition since mid December, Melbourne finally plays its catch-up game on Tuesday night and it could hardly have come at a more important time.

Merrick said the team would quickly forget about Saturday night's win over Adelaide - achieved with a goal in the first minute by Tom Pondeljak and rounded off with an injury-time penalty from skipper Kevin Muscat - as they face having to back up again in three days time.

"We have definitely qualified for the finals so we have ticked off the first objective and the second one is to finish in the top two," Merrick said.

"But this is the time now that we are in control of everything (in terms of the three-way battle for the prized top two finish)."

"Everyone has had to play a midweek game and now it-s our turn so let-s deal with it."

Merrick said the upcoming midweek clash against Wellington would also be a good test run for the Victory's upcoming Asian Champions' League campaign, which will see the team regularly having to play midweek matches with the competition kicking off during the upcoming finals campaign.

"This is what European footballers do all the time - they have to (constantly) back up midweek," Merrick said.

"We don-t quite have their squads they have, we have got half their squads but we are well prepared."

Merrick was delighted with his team's performance against an Adelaide side that, needing to win to keep its finals hopes alive, constantly attacked the Victory.

"But we defended really well," Merrick said.

"We caught them on the break that many times and we had 25 shots - 15 on target - and every time we caught them out we could have punished them."

"On another day we could have scored a number of goals and (keeper) Mitch (Langerak) only had two saves to make."

"And even though they fouled us 28 times to 11 - nearly three times more - we didn't lose our discipline and they had five yellow cards while we only had one."