A cautious Kevin Muscat refused to endorse his Melbourne Victory team as likely title challengers despite watching them thump Western Sydney 4-1 on Friday night.
Victory raced into a 3-0 lead within 30 minutes of the 2014-15 A-League season opener against last term's beaten grand finalists, putting the game to bed with a fourth goal early in the second half.
The Wanderers, with a Sydney derby and AFC Champions League final coming up, proved unable to live with the rampant hosts, but the performance wasn't enough for Muscat to buy into what could prove to be premature hype.
"It's irrelevant for me," he said when asked if the win made Victory genuine contenders for silverware.
"That's an outcome. I can't wait to get home and watch that again tonight, because we want to be better than that next week.
"It's great that everyone's got opinions because that means people are talking about our great game. But ultimately it's not for me to get involved in. We're one game into 27 games. There's a long way to go."
"Everyone wants to try and win silverware. It's a lot easier said than done."
The Victory boss was however happy to acknowledge the efforts of his team as one of the most complete performances he has overseen since succeeding Ange Postecoglou as head coach 12 months ago.
"It was," he said.
"I really wanted to get on the front foot. We really thought that was the best way to get a result tonight. And we squeezed them and pressed them really hard and forced them into some errors. Forcing them to play the ball into contest.
"When we picked the ball up from a contest we looked really dangerous going forward."
"Throughout most of that 90 minutes it was close to spot on. The boys shed a lot of sweat, working hard each other. We've set a standard tonight, for ourselves.
"That's a standard we've set."Muscat will hope his players hit the same heights next weekend, when Victory go away to fierce rivals Adelaide United, who tackle reigning champions Brisbane Roar in their own campaign curtain raiser on Sunday.
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