Merrick hails medicos

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick has paid tribute to the club's fitness and medical staff for their preparation of Archie Thompson and Robbie Kruse for Sunday's thrilling Hyundai A-League major semi-final victory over Sydney FC.

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick has paid tribute to the club's fitness and medical staff for their preparation of Archie Thompson and Robbie Kruse for Sunday's thrilling Hyundai A-League major semi-final victory over Sydney FC.

Making their return from extended layoffs, both strikers got their names on the scoresheet in the 4-3 aggregate result that earned the Victory a place in the 2009-10 Hyundai A-League Grand Final on Saturday week.

Thompson was in danger of missing the Hyundai A-League finals altogether after being diagnosed with foot stress fractures while Kruse was at one stage thought to have suffered a broken leg in a nasty tackle in the club's final match of the regular season.

"As soon as we found out it wasn't broken, the training program put in place by our training staff and by Adam Basil was endurance work, off legs, deep-water running, a lot of upper-body work and boxing training," said Merrick.

"Their training program was first-class, but then as soon as we got them on the pitch it was about technical work with Aaron Healy."

"We only had two or three days on the field, so the credit goes to the staff on getting both players up and looking as sharp as they did."

Thompson and Kruse have pulled up well from Sunday's match and Merrick expects them to play a role in Tuesday's AFC Champions League clash with group leader Seongnam Ilhwa of South Korea.

According to Victory skipper Kevin Muscat, the short turnaround and change of styles will be testing.

"We have to adapt, there's no doubt about it," Muscat said.

"Different sides play very different also, but we'll get the right information that we need today after 'recovery'."

"We'll be as thorough as we normally are, we'll go through the DVD, go through individual players, go through the lot and the way they play."

"Hopefully that will hold us in good stead."

"We'll take all that into consideration, but we always finish on what we do and tomorrow night, it will be no different."

"Hopefully we'll have enough bodies near 100 percent to be able to compete well."

Muscat said the disadvantage of having to play twice in 48 hours had been offset by the huge confidence boost from Sunday's 'massive' result.

"Our fans deserve a home grand final, and that wasn't a motivation because I've always maintained you shouldn't need motivation to win football games," Muscat said.

"But certainly in the back of our minds we wanted to give something back to the fans that have given us so much."

"We've done it the tough way."