Merrick: No let-up at training

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick will work his men hard this week in the lead-up to the Hyundai A-League finals despite predictions of extreme heat for the Victorian capital.

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick will work his men hard this week in the lead-up to the Hyundai A-League finals despite predictions of extreme heat for the Victorian capital.

Fresh from securing the Premier's Plate, the Victory will endure a hot week with temperatures tipped to soar to 38 on Tuesday and at least 40 degrees four days in a row from Wednesday.

But with six members of his squad, including Archie Thompson and Michael Theoklitos, over in Jakarta with the Socceroos squad preparing for Wednesday night's clash with Indonesia, Merrick plans no let-up just yet for his men in Melbourne.

"They're certainly training well and will be exposed to really good pressure," Merrick said of his absent players. "The remaining players here will be working very hard and this first week will be hard work."

"Then we'll ease off and taper the second week so it's worked out well and the boys will be back on Friday and it will be nine days before our game so we've got plenty of time to recover and as I say taper off."

While Merrick's men finished top of the ladder when Adelaide United failed to win by two goals against Central Coast on Sunday night, the man himself didn't follow the lead of his players when it came to monitoring the decisive game.

"Actually I didn't watch the game, I went down to the beach, (I thought) whatever can be can be, and when you can't control something I tend not to bother about it at all," he said.

"I came out of the shower and the phone started going nuts and that's the first time I found the score and how things had gone. I haven't stopped smiling ever since."

As for the achievement of winning the premiership, Merrick was quick to acknowledge it while at the same time pointing to the fact that the championship is now the sole focus of his squad.

"The job's unfinished and it's the championship we really want so our focus is firmly on that," he said. "I'm a traditionalist, at the end of the home-and-away season every country in the world virtually … that's the major prize."

"But we're in Australia and we appreciate that finals are a key part of the tournament here. And so that's why step one we've achieved but the major prize is the championship and that's where all our energies will go for the next couple of weeks."

Delighted that the club has also secured its place in the 2010 AFC Asian Champions League, which he described as 'a huge bonus', Merrick said luck has played no part in the fact that at this stage he has a full squad to choose from.

"(It's) certainly good management, that's (having a full squad available) not by luck or fortune," he said. "We've got a great medical staff run by Dan Jones, we've got strength and conditioning run by Adam Basil and Anita Pedrana."

"We've got (Football Operations Manager) Gary Cole recruiting terrific players and Aaron Healey and myself and Steve Mautone, Mehmet Durakovic, and Kevin, you put them all together and you get this type of result. It's to do with planning and organisation."

"We've got an exceptional squad, even our bench has internationals on it. We've got a great squad and you rely on every single player, there's 22 players that won this premiership for us and it will be 22 players that have a go at the championship."