Glory ‘couldn’t be a better game’ for Victory

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat says Sunday’s Hyundai A-League clash with Perth Glory at nib Stadium couldn’t have come at a better time for his side.

With 19 days separating Melbourne Victory’s last outing – a 2-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers on January 6 – and Sunday’s match in Perth due to the AFC Asian Cup break, Muscat is relishing a return to competitive action.

“It couldn’t be a better game for us really,” he said on Friday. 

“After the Western Sydney game there was an opportunity to freshen some bodies up but since then we’ve worked away, we’ve recognised some areas we need to improve on and we’re not content where we sit.”

Third-placed Melbourne Victory is four points behind the ladder-leading Glory, who prevailed 2-1 when the sides last met earlier in January.

Muscat said the only adjustment to his team’s style would be to improve on it.

“We want to be that pro-active team that people enjoy coming to watch,” he said.

“We want to get on the front foot and we want to play attacking football but at the same time we’ve got certain responsibilities that maybe we needed to tighten up on.”

While the mid-season break has provided fans with an opportunity to focus on the AFC Asian Cup throughout January, the Melbourne Victory Head Coach has not been so fortunate.

“‘Break’ and ‘week off’ – I don’t understand what that means,” Muscat said with a smile.

“It is a little bit surreal, but I think the way we’ve embraced the Asian Cup has been outstanding.

“There’s a real genuine excitement about watching our national team play now, so that’s positive.”

Muscat said French defender Matthieu Delpierre was at least a fortnight away from returning from a foot injury, all but ruling him out of the Melbourne Derby on February 7.

“He’s going well. It’s been a longer process than we would’ve liked, but it is what it is,” Muscat said.

“We’ve had to treat his injury with respect and he’ll be fit. When that’s going to be – it won’t be within the next week or fortnight but he’ll be fit soon enough.”

Delpierre has been out of action since Melbourne Victory’s Westfield FFA Cup loss to Perth in October, when a hamstring complaint originally sidelined him before a foot problem developed.

“He’s had an issue in his foot that’s taken him quite a while, but we’re comfortable where we sit with him and he’s on the way back to full fitness,” Muscat said.

Melbourne Victory captain Mark Milligan, who remains on international duty with the Socceroos, is the only other absentee, with Archie Thompson, Adrian Leijer and Jason Geria added to an extended 18-man squad.

“Everyone else has trained and it’s nice having everyone available,” Muscat said.

“It’s really intensified training for competition for places, so we’ll pick a team accordingly on Sunday.”