Sydney not unbeatable, says Victory coach Muscat
KEVIN Muscat has no doubt his side's best is good enough to topple undefeated Sydney FC.
And the Melbourne Victory coach said he suspects Sydney knows it too.
Muscat called on Victory fans to create a cauldron-like atmosphere at Etihad Stadium on Thursday night for a first versus second blockbuster that has been billed as a grand final preview.
Victory has lost just one of its last 10 games to the Sky Blues (winning four and drawing five).
And that loss, in Round 5 this season, came after a blatant handball went unpunished in the lead up to David Carney's second half equaliser in a game Sydney won 2-1.
Asked what pressure that might put on Sydney's players, Muscat said: "At the moment they're backing up what they're preaching”.
"Hopefully that will stop [on Thursday] night.
"We know that if we put every brick in place, we'll beat them.
"Our best is good enough to beat them. We know that and they know it also.”
Sydney's biggest games in Melbourne in recent years have been the 2014-15 grand final against Victory and the 2016 FFA Cup final against City.
Sydney lost both of those AAMI Park matches.
The Sky Blues have won just four of 15 games at Etihad, but Arnold said on Tuesday his team likes playing at Docklands because "we perform well there”.
"Arnie made those comments about his record and his club's record,” Muscat said with a wry grin.
"So I'll just have to take his word for it.”
Marco Rojas and Ollie Bozanic (rested) and Jason Geria and Fahid Ben Khalfallah (suspended) missed last Saturday's trip to Perth, but are expected to return.
The game is Leigh Broxham's 225th A-League game for Victory, a new club record Muscat was keen to highlight.
"I don't really get sentimental (about records),” he said.
"But this one here I just felt the need to remind the players and congratulate him in front of his peers because he's stood the test of time.
"He's really had to earn every one of those games.”
Muscat also said the noise in the second half of the last home game - a 3-2 win over Brisbane at AAMI in which Victory held on with 10-men after Besart Berisha was wrongly sent off - was intense.
"The atmosphere in the stadium that night was as close to the grand final that I've heard.
"Fans were back to their best. It was sensational and there was no doubt that it did help us in that last half an hour.
"They really grew and they can do the same for us tomorrow night. No doubt they'll turn up in big numbers and once again prove that they are the flag bearers in that department.”