Melbourne Victory captain Carl Valeri is refreshed following a week off and ready to attack the final weeks of the Hyundai A-League season, but don’t think last week was a break.
“I like how everyone says a break, but we got smashed!” Valeri said with a laugh.
“It wasn’t much of a break for us, but we got two days off in a row which is rare at this stage of the season… we used the time wisely to put a bit of extra work into the legs to take it into the back end of the season.
“Mentally, obviously, two days off with family and friends coming into the last five league games – and we’re away for all but one of them – to spend that time with family, I know I love doing it.”
Valeri comes into the Round 23 match-up against Perth off an interrupted block of football, having recovered from a hamstring strain to feature in the Club’s last two matches – away to Sanfrecce Hiroshima and at home to Brisbane Roar – from the bench.
“I’m back now and looking forward to the game against Perth. If required I’m 100% ready.
“I’ve been working hard and the break really helped the situation, it gave me those extra few games to get the work under my belt and prepare for this big match.”
Prior to a last-start win against the Roar, Valeri and his teammates had endured a tough run of form.
But internally the belief didn’t waver and ahead of matches against the Hyundai A-League’s top two and Chinese powerhouse Guangzhou Evergrande the focus won’t either.
“Our ability to understand what was going wrong and work on things which will make us stronger [was important].
“We like to focus on us. Not to dismiss other teams, but it works for us and we’ve found it gets the best results.
“We’ve seen it over the years, especially come the back end of the season, that we finish strongly. We say it, but we also know how to do it and we’re going to be looking to do it again starting with Perth.
“The general feel is excitement. We have a big six-seven weeks coming up with the league and Asian Champions League.
“It’s what we work hard for all pre-season, [and] season to get to this point and now we’re going to knuckle down and go for it.”