Melbourne Victory want to give something back to their fans by beating SydneyFC in Saturday’s A-League clash, reversing the previous home result.
Melbourne Victory have overcome the heartbreak of their extra-time loss to A-League pacesetters Brisbane Roar.
But for coach Kevin Muscat, another painful memory lingers.
Muscat said on Friday he was proud of his players’ efforts in going down 1-0 in Brisbane last week.
“Yeah it was quite painful, the mood right after the game and even on the way back the next day,” Muscat told reporters.
“But that’s gone now. We’ve analysed the game and there was a lot to like about it.
“We were resilient and very threatening going the other way. It took a good goal from distance to beat us.”
With three rounds remaining, the third-placed Victory can finish as high as second and that’s where Muscat is aiming.
The Victory’s next assignment is Saturday night’s clash at AAMI Stadium with seventh-placed Sydney FC.
Coach Frank Farina’s Sky Blues thumped the Victory 5-0 at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne on January 26 and Muscat says he feels the need to repay the fans.
“Without doubt,” Muscat said.
“The one thing I can remember from the whole night was leaving the stadium and feeling how badly we’d let the fans down.
“It’s our last home. It’s a game we really want to send a clear message with a performance that’s fitting of taking three points.”
Muscat said there was no point talking to the players about that Australia Day defeat.
“We’ve come on in leaps and bounds since then,” Muscat said.
Muscat says his men are showing a real resilience in defence.
“It’s a far cry from that day six weeks or seven weeks ago,” he said.
“We’re a far different outfit than how we played that day.
“We can finish second. That’s our desperation.
“Sydney have a different one.”
Muscat confirmed Adama Traore would return from injury, but ruled out fellow defender Nick Ansell.
Farina is expecting a finals-like atmosphere at AAMI Park.
“They’ll be fired up, particularly after we beat them down there last time,” Farina said.
“So I’m expecting a very difficult match. It’s a great stadium to play in, especially when they’ve got a good crowd in there, and Victory supporters are very vocal.
“I don’t think it will be a hostile atmosphere, more an electric one.”
With three games remaining and Sydney seventh behind Newcastle on goal difference, the Sky Blues will be looking for full points to stay in the finals picture.
Reports emerged earlier in the year that a top four finish is required for Farina to keep his job.
But with the Sydney side still four points adrift of fourth-placed Central Coast, it could be a tough ask.