Vargas: We thrive on pressure
Melbourne Victory central defender Rody Vargas says his all-conquering team is relishing its status as overwhelming favourites in Saturday night's Hyundai A-League grand final.
While most teams try to do almost anything to claim underdog status in a premiership decider, Melbourne Victory central defender Rody Vargas says his all-conquering team is relishing its status as overwhelming favourites in Saturday night's Hyundai A-League grand final.
Melbourne goes into its second grand final meeting in three seasons with Adelaide having beaten the Reds in all five meetings this season - including a 6-0 aggregate demolition in the Major Semi-Final a fortnight ago - although Adelaide did beat Melbourne in a pre-season game prior to the start of the home and away season.
And while Adelaide recorded a slogging 1-0 win over Queensland in the Preliminary Final last week, Melbourne was enjoying the luxury of a week off and to cap it off will have home advantage on Saturday night with more than 45,000 Victory fans expected to pack the Dome, hoping to see a repeat of Melbourne's 6-0 massacre of Adelaide in the 2006/07 grand final at Telstra Dome.
So while all the pressure appears to be on Melbourne - given Adelaide was not even expected to reach the premiership decider after Reds' coach Aurelio Vidmar's bizarre rant at all and sundry within his club following the semi-final capitulation - Vargas says the players are taking it all in their stride.
"Everyone has been talking about Melbourne this and Melbourne that but we enjoy the pressure (of being expected to win) at our club - we thrive on it," Vargas said on Monday.
"We love to play under pressure and you want to play in the big games and we would rather be playing in front of a packed stadium under pressure than in a no pressure game."
Vargas said the fact that nearly half the side that will play on Saturday night were also part of the 2006/07 grand final team would also ensure that Melbourne did not fall for the complacency trap on Saturday night.
"The boys are very confident, we have been planning for the final and not even knowing who we were playing (before the result of the preliminary final was known) has not really had an affect on us."
"Everyone is fit and ready to go so things are looking good for us."
However while Adelaide was all but written off following its semi-final loss to Melbourne, Vargas was not surprised to see the Reds bounce back and beat Queensland to reach their second grand final in three years.
"Any team that makes the grand final deserves to be there so it will be a cracking final on Saturday," he said.
"Adelaide has got a lot of character in its side and they obviously have a lot of fighting spirit so I wasn't surprised at all that they got through to the grand final."
"I guess we are going to have confidence knowing we have played them a few times and come out with victories but we have spoken about this a few times and (coach) Ernie (Merrick) addressed it again this morning saying complacency is the only thing that can have a negative affect on us."
With that in mind Vargas dismissed any suggestions of Melbourne repeating either its 6-0 semi-final demolition or 6-0 grand final rout of Adelaide two years ago on Saturday night.
"Whether we win 1-0 or on penalties or with a last minute goal, all that matters at the end of the day to Melbourne Victory and our fans is we get a win."