Victory aim for Derby Day bang

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat says his team will put Melbourne City ‘under enormous pressure’ right from the kick-off in Saturday’s derby at an expected sold-out Etihad Stadium.

If the men in navy blue and white follow their bullish coach’s instructions, City – winless in the first two games of the season and struggling for goals – could be in for a tough night at a packed Etihad.

Perhaps seeking to raise the stakes further still, Muscat’s believes the significant investment made in re-branding the club formerly known as Melbourne Heart places the onus squarely on John van ‘t Schip’s side to perform in what is their first derby under a new guise.

“I don’t know what pressure they’re under from within,” the Victory coach said.

“What I do know, it’s the first derby where there’s some expectation on them.

“This our tenth year of living with expectation.”

“We’ll get at them nice and early, put them under enormous pressure. They’ll feel pressure from the kick-off and when we get the ball back I dare say that we’ll want to cause problems and we’ll want to get on the attack.”

City’s players and supporters could be forgiven for being distracted this week by the news that David Villa – at the club on a guest spell from New York City FC – will leave after Round 4 to fulfil marketing obligations and family commitments, with the Spanish star’s potential return in doubt.

Muscat refused to contribute to the heated debate about City’s handling of Villa’s abortive stay, despite Victory apparently being vindicated in their off-season message of planning for the long term.

“It’s not my issue,” he said.

“I’ve got enough issues here. I’m not interested in any of that. It’s for them to work out.”

When asked if he had any special plans to handle the FIFA World Cup and UEFA Champions League winner on Saturday night, Muscat said: “None in particular.”

“Wherever he plays someone will have a responsibility. If you’re doing your job right, individually and collectively we’ve got a structure without the ball. Yeah he’s a good player, we respect that, but they’ve got some other good players out there as well.”

Muscat indicated that Scott Galloway, available again after returning from Young Socceroos duty, would replace the injured Jason Geria in the starting XI, although it remains to be seen if Daniel Georgievski will revert to his natural position at right-back.

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