Muscat’s praise for Barca great ahead of titanic clash

Ahead of Friday night’s blockbuster, Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat has been impressed by how Guillermo Amor has turned Adelaide United’s fortunes around this season.

Muscat was the last Hyundai A-League coach to get the better of Amor, with the Spaniard having led Adelaide on an 11-match unbeaten run in Australia’s top tier since Victory defeated the Reds 2-1 on November 28.

Amor faced questions about his future following that loss, which extended Adelaide’s eight-game winless start to the 2015-16 campaign.

Guillermo Amor has called on Reds fans to get behind his team for Sunday's clash with the Jets.

But having tweaked Adelaide’s tactics, Amor is reaping the rewards.

Adelaide will face Victory at AAMI Park on Friday to kick off Hyundai A-League Round 20. 

“The way they [Adelaide] set up now, I suppose they’re not pressing as high as they used to,” Muscat said on Thursday.

“Naturally there are risks that are associated in pressing high; you’re a little bit more vulnerable with space. 

Adelaide United are on an 11-game unbeaten run in the Hyundai A-League but have conceded four goals in their last two matches.

“This way, the way Adelaide sit off – and it’s working very well for them, so it’s a positive from their perspective – they’re a little bit more direct as well.

“When they win the ball back, in transition, they’re a little bit more direct in not trying to keep possession for the sake of possession. 

“They’re a good team; they’ve got some form players, so we’re going to have to be at our best tomorrow night.”

Adelaide’s 3-2 win at Central Coast Mariners last week took the Reds to third in the A-League table, a point and two spots ahead of Muscat’s men, who drew 2-2 in the Melbourne derby.

Victory players celebrate the winning goal in a gripping Big Blue.

Friday night’s match will be one of five against current top-six sides Victory will have to navigate in the run in to the finals. 

The Big V are set to host Adelaide, Sydney FC, Western Sydney Wanderers and Brisbane Roar in their five remaining home games.

“The beauty of that is that if you’re winning games – and obviously that’s our aim – you’re taking points off the opposition immediately surrounding you, and vice-versa – there’s a double-edged sword,” Muscat said.

“So they’re big games and that’s where we want to be and that’s how we want them.”