Victory boss looking for a response

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat has asked his players for a strong reaction on the pitch against Western Sydney Wanderers at AAMI Park on Good Friday.

Victory’s past two Hyundai A-League results – a 5-0 loss to Brisbane Roar and 1-1 draw with Newcastle Jets – have left the club in sixth position on the ladder with three rounds remaining.

The team faces competition leaders Western Sydney, who have recorded a win and a draw against the reigning Champions so far this season.

“Anyone that goes out there now and can’t produce any more effort than they produced last week simply can’t play,” Muscat told the media on Thursday.

“It comes down to individuals now to get themselves in a position where they look like they want to play for this football club.

“Our members deserve to come here tomorrow night and see a group who have given their all and given everything for the football club. That’s a minimum.

“As a group, we’ve had to do some soul-searching this week because last week was unacceptable on every front. 

“I want to see a reaction. Our fans and members deserve a lot better than what we showed last week.”

Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas is hopeful of holding onto the number one jersey for the rest of the season.

Muscat confirmed Lawrence Thomas will start in goal for the second consecutive week, while defender Nick Ansell is unavailable as he manages quad soreness.

Youth team defender Stefan Nigro has been recalled to the squad, with Jason Geria away on international duty with the Caltex Socceroos.

Victory captain Carl Valeri continues to show impressive signs on the training track, though the possibility of him returning to the field this season is still unknown.

“I don’t want to add any more pressure on Carl, but he is travelling very well. He’s training and recovering and not having any recurrences,” Muscat said.

“It’s great to have him around the place and training regularly, which he has done for the last 10 days.

“We’ve just got to give him some space and let him carry on training. Whatever will be from that perspective, it’ll be a bonus.

“If you’re seeing him training, you start to believe that he’s wellbeing is in the right place, and I take more pleasure out of that.”

Tickets for Victory’s match against the Wanderers on Good Friday are available by clicking here.