Muscat puts Grand Final redemption out of Melbourne Victory minds
Kevin Muscat is paying no thought to last season's Hyundai A-League Grand Final heartache as Melbourne Victory aim to go one better against Newcastle Jets on Saturday night.
Victory fell at the final hurdle 12 months ago, losing to Sydney FC in a penalty shootout for the second time in their history.
But the three-time champions have picked themselves up from a rocky first 10 rounds to reach a second successive decider, which offers another shot at becoming the first club to prevail in four Grand Finals.
Muscat, who presided over the 2015 triumph, insists the lure of atoning for last year provides no additional motivation.
"None whatsoever. It was such a long time ago," said the Victory boss, who revealed Christian Theoharous was unlikely to recover in time for Saturday night.
"I haven't used any energy whatsoever thinking about last year.
"Nothing else has taken away our focus from preparing and preparing well for tomorrow night.
"That's been clear from everything I've seen from the players as well."
Victory did exact a measure revenge on Sydney FC with last weekend's extraordinary extra-time defeat of the champions in a rollercoaster Semi Final at Allianz Stadium.
Muscat believes the nature of that hard-earned result, which included the stoppage-time concession of an own-goal equaliser, will serve his side well when they confront a partisan Newcastle crowd of more than 30,000 at McDonald Jones Stadium.
"They've earned the right to have that support. That's part of the excitement, part of the challenge for us," he said.
"We've had some practice [against Sydney FC].
"Only seven odd days ago we had that opportunity and performed really well with some challenges that got thrown up against us during the game.
"Scoring five goals [with two own goals] and only winning 3-2, it was an emotional night for us but certainly a performance that warranted us to be where we are today."