Merrick hails improved league

Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick believes that the all-conquering side from season two would struggle to repeat those heroics in a much-improved competition.

In the lead-up to this year's Hyundai A-League Grand Final, there will be inevitable comparisons made between the Championship winning team of 2006/07 and the current Victory squad.

But Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick believes that the all-conquering side from season two would struggle to repeat those heroics in a much-improved competition.

Merrick said the A-League has improved with every year, and that it was difficult to measure how dominant the double-winning Victory side would be in the current league.

"I think the standard of the A-League has improved enormously over the four years. I think the team we had two years ago was a fantastic team but the same team now wouldn't perform in the same way and win everything," he said.

"There is no team in this league which is easy to beat and the standard has come up that existing Socceroos are coming back to play here and overseas players want to come here."

Merrick's attentions are firmly on future ambitions rather than past successes. But one thing he has taken from the performance of Melbourne in the Grand Final two years ago was the importance of the home crowd.

"No-one deserves a Grand Final more than this city. So the city of Melbourne and the state of Victoria are fantastic. We hope to get a huge crowd, it would be fantastic to see a sea of blue shirts in the stands and we want to present a really intimidating home Grand Final for whoever comes to meet us," he said.

Melbourne's preparations this week have been all about maintaining the fitness and keeping the players fresh. It is difficult to work on tactics when the team does not know who its opponent is and the finer details will be covered in the week leading up to the decider.

Meanwhile, Merrick has opted not to travel to Adelaide for the Preliminary Final. He said he is familiar with how both teams operate, having played Adelaide five times and Queensland three times already this season, and he can do his match analysis via Fox Sports.

"We did that two years ago for specific reasons. We pretty well know those two teams well and more importantly know the coaches well. We know they are good teams and what they are capable of and again we'll just focus on how we are playing. I'll watch the game on television," he said.