Muscat: We will hit back

Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat says the club's fans have every right to feel disappointed in the team's performance during Friday night's 3-0 loss to arch-rivals Sydney FC at Etihad Stadium.

Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat says the club's fans have every right to feel disappointed in the team's performance during Friday night's 3-0 loss to arch-rivals Sydney FC at Etihad Stadium.

The top-of-the-table clash was a fizzer for the home side with the visitors taking control with three goals in a five minute period early in the first half and although Melbourne dominated the second half, the reigning Hyundai A-League champions were unable to break through a Sydney defence that has now conceded just seven goals in ten games this season.

The crowd of 30,668 - Melbourne's best for a non-finals match at home for nearly a year - reacted by booing the team both at half-time and at the end of the match but Muscat said he can understand the feelings of the fans, knowing how much the clashes against arch-rivals Sydney means to Melbourne's large and passionate fan base.

"Fair enough as well," Muscat said when asked about the reaction of the fans to Melbourne's heaviest ever home defeat since the A-League began.

"They have turned up in numbers and we didn't perform on the night to our capabilities."

But Muscat warned Melbourne, which had won its past three games leading into the clash against Sydney and for now still remains in second spot on the ladder, would hit back hard.

"The boys pride is wounded and it's just difficult when the goals came in such a short space of time because it made it hard to recover."

"But we have got to put that behind us and pick ourselves up."

"We have certainly done that before and this gives us an opportunity to show the character that we have got."

"We have let the fans down but first and foremost we have let ourselves down but make no mistake we will pick ourselves up."

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick said the team would relish its nine day break before its next clash - away to Newcastle - but denied there would be wholesale changes to the team following the loss to Sydney.

Merrick said even the best teams produced an occasional poor performance.

"We have been playing good football, it's only the third game we have lost," Merrick said.

"We have gone five games undefeated and you don-t change it all because of one game."

"Every season we have lost a game 3-0 or 4-0 and even (English champions) Manchester United lose occasionally like that so you can't throw everything away."

But Melbourne is likely to have to make at least one change for next week's game against Newcastle after Brisbane recruit Robbie Kruse limped off in the first half against Sydney with a hamstring injury.