Muscat: Derby loss still stings

Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat has admitted that the inaugural derby loss against Heart in October still stings the players and that will prove a motivating factor in Saturday's re-match at AAMI Park.

Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat has admitted that the inaugural derby loss against Heart in October still stings the players and that will prove a motivating factor in Saturday's re-match at AAMI Park.

The circumstances of the match, which Heart won 2-1, didn't trouble Muscat as much as the result, with the experienced defender saying Victory's pride had been wounded by their inability to stamp their dominance over their new cross-town rival.

"I remember we got beat and that hurt us deeply. I can't remember exactly what else happened. We've seen some footage of things we need to tighten up on from that match, things we need to improve on from last week. Hopefully that happens," Muscat said.

Both teams come into the game desperate for a win to re-ignite their finals ambitions having both failed to register a win in over a month. Victory have gone five matches without a win, while Heart has been really struggling, managing just one draw in its past six and going 529 minutes without scoring a goal.

But Muscat is not too concerned with the Heart's troubles, saying Victory had to focus on what they could achieve, not on what their opponents could.

"I'll let them worry about themselves. Hopefully it's playing on their minds a little bit. Getting beaten by 10 men last night probably wouldn't have helped them. It's more about what we do," he said.

"We need to go out there, turn it around and get a result, get a win, get us knocking on the door of the six again."

Muscat denied that the run of matches without a win was affecting the confidence of his side and that a rediscovery of Victory's best form was a matter of playing 90 minutes of solid football and tightening up the defence.

"There's no doubt in my mind that we've got a confident squad and confident players. That's one thing that hasn't happened, we haven't put a full 90 minutes together. It is a concern. But we haven't lost the confidence to say we can do that," he said.

"Apart from 25 or 30 minutes the other day, it was as good as we have been. It's a matter of keeping it tighter for longer periods. When we get the ball and start knocking it about, we are as good as any team."

"When we are on top of our game, we trouble teams. The consistency we've got with Archie and Robbie back on the team is a big difference. Archie is close to his full potential. We've got it keep it tight up the other end and make sure they don't have to score three or four goals to win a game."

There are set to be at least two changes to Victory's line-up for this match with Leigh Broxham to miss with a calf injury, while Adrian Leijer is back available after suspension.

Coach Ernie Merrick has flagged that both Surat Sukha and Matthew Kemp will play, meaning one of the centre backs will miss out.