Merrick refuses to blame fatigue

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick has said the club will not use tight scheduling as an excuse for the 4-0 capitulation against Kawasaki Frontale on Wednesday night.

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick has said the club will not use tight scheduling as an excuse for the 4-0 capitulation against Kawasaki Frontale on Wednesday night.

Melbourne fronted up for a crucial AFC Champions League match against last year's J-League runner-up just 72 hours after being beaten on penalties by Sydney FC in the Hyundai A-League Grand Final.

The toll of that quick back-up plus the plane trip to Japan was evident as Melbourne conceded three goals inside the first 21 minutes. Kawasaki completed the rout with a goal in the final minute of the match.

But while Melbourne has endured difficult scheduling throughout the first three games, Merrick will not use that for an excuse.

"No matter what sort of build-up we have had, there is simply no excuse for conceding three goals in 21 minutes," Merrick said. "They completely dominated the first half and we were made to look second rate."

While he did feel the margin was fair reflection in the gulf of class between the sides, he said it would always be very hard for Australian teams to compete against those from Japan.

"We've been doing some research while we've been over here. They have so much money more to spend than us and they have more players in their squads. It-s hard for us to compete on a consistent level given those circumstances," he said.

"I don-t know if people understand how good the J-League is. These sides are full professional outfits with outstanding players."

Meanwhile, Merrick was less than pleased with Leigh Broxham, who got himself sent off late in the game when trying to help Brazilian opponent Renatinho up by the scruff of his shirt.

"I thought the referee did a good job last night. He's officiated the game well. I thought it was quite stupid of Leigh and I think he deserved a yellow card. I'll be speaking to him about that," he said.

Broxham will miss the return leg against Kawasaki at Docklands Stadium next Wednesday night as will Kawasaki striker Chong Tese, who was sent off in the first half for lashing out at Grant Brebner.