Merrick has faith in young strikers

Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick is adamant the goals will start to flow from young strike combination Mate Dugandzic and Robbie Kruse despite Victory being kept goalless in Friday's loss against Central Coast in Gosford.

Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick is adamant the goals will start to flow from young strike combination Mate Dugandzic and Robbie Kruse despite Victory being kept goalless in Friday's loss against Central Coast in Gosford.

The two young strikers have been given the responsibility of filling the void in Archie Thompson's absence but have so far just managed two goals between them in the first five matches.

The pair had several good opportunities in the 2-0 defeat against the Mariners, but Merrick felt they didn't back themselves to shoot at the first opportunity.

"We created several chances but we didn't pull the trigger and that's the youngsters like Mate Dugandzic and Robbie Kruse, they do a good job there and they create some good opportunities but just don't pull the trigger," Merrick said after the match.

"I think it's part of learning how to be a striker, learning how to receive a ball how to make runs towards the goals."

"Their dribbling is good but they've got to learn to shoot and they've got to learn to take responsibility, back themselves and be a bit more selfish."

"I think it's just part of the learning process, we forget that one's 20, one's 21, they're both wingers, virtually unknown until we worked on them and they've come good."

New-signing Ricardinho came on for the last 35 minutes of the match and created enough to please Merrick.

But the Brazilian is unlikely to push either Dugandzic or Kruse out of the team in the short term as he fights to regain match fitness.

Skipper Kevin Muscat was savage on Victory's performance after Central Coast scored the opening goal 20 minutes in.

Melbourne had completely controlled the game until they conceded a free kick and Rostyn Griffiths rose unmarked to head home the first goal.

"I thought our performance after that first goal was a joke. It was very un-Victory like," Muscat said. "We need to go back and work hard on things like set-pieces."

Central Coast completed the win when a clever Matt Simon cross found Daniel McBreen at the near post.

Melbourne now have just one win in give matches ahead of next week's home match against Brisbane at AAMI Park.