Victory coach’s blunt warning: ‘no-one’s safe’

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat has warned his squad that “no one’s safe” as the defending Hyundai A-League champions prepare to face Suwon Bluewings in the AFC Champions League (ACL).

Victory will take on the Bluewings at AAMI Park just three days after losing 5-0 away to Brisbane Roar in the A-League.

ACL preview: Victory v Suwon Bluewings

Muscat conceded his team’s performance in Queensland will “linger” and warned his players that he won’t be reticent about making changes.

“Everybody’s available and no-one’s safe, no-one’s certain,” he told reporters on Monday.

Kosta Barbarouses, who missed the game against Roar through suspension, will almost certainly start against Suwon, while Archie Thompson, Nick Ansell and Daniel Georgievski were also named by Muscat as options for the first XI.

Kosta Barbarouses netted the opener in Victory's 1-1 draw with Sydney FC in Round 21

While the Big V’s coach insisted the loss to Brisbane “still doesn’t sit right” with him, he argued there has been enough evidence this season that Victory can bounce back in the ACL.

Victory are unbeaten after two matches to lead Group G, while the Bluewings have only managed one point from their opening games.

“[Saturday night’s loss is] the first time this season that we’ve been comprehensively beaten, so there are some clear indicators of what a performance should look like,” Muscat said.

“In the Champions League we’ve performed very well in the two games we’ve played so far, and tomorrow night has to be a reflection of that.”

The K-League visitors will be without attacking midfielder Kwon Chang-hoon and striker Kim Gun-hee, who started the Bluewings’ opening two matches in Group G but Muscat remains wary.

Suwon Bluewings pose for a team photo prior to their ACL clash with Gamba Osaka.

“They’re very competitive, very aggressive… it’s going to be a competitive game, and we’re going to have to pick a team that’s going to have to match that,” he said.

The Bluewings have played three competitive games this year but have yet to win one, including Saturday’s K. League opener where they lost 2-0 away to Seongnam.