Victory to get ugly

Melbourne defender Rody Vargas admits his side may have to play ugly against the Central Coast at Etihad Stadium on Saturday in order to avenge the opening round loss to the Mariners.

Melbourne defender Rody Vargas admits his side may have to play ugly against the Central Coast at Etihad Stadium on Saturday in order to avenge the opening round loss to the Mariners.

Lawrie McKinna's side stunned the defending champions in the opening match of the season, beating Melbourne 2-0 at home. Since that point, Melbourne and Central Coast have been two of the most consistent sides in the competition and currently sit second and fourth respectively.

The Mariners have built their solid season on an imposing defence and have conceded just eight goals in 13 games so far this season. But Vargas believes his team-mates are up for the challenge and ready to do whatever it takes to get the three points.

"We are focussing a lot on our mental toughness and the ability to grind out results. I think the way in which we-ve won has been pretty telling for us. We know you can-t always play pretty and win. At times in Perth we did have to battle and withhold the barrage and we did that and it adds another element to our game," he said.

"They are known for their competitiveness, they are pretty tough. Lawrie McKinna gets the best out of his team. They are a very tough side to play and we know that it's not going to be a pretty game of football. But it-s another game we look forward to, to build on our strengths and grind the game out. We're happy to win ugly."

While the Mariners boast the best defence, Melbourne has scored the most goals in the competition with 22 from 13. However, Victory's cavalier approach has taken its toll up the other end, with only two clean sheets this season and none in the past six weeks.

That doesn-t concern Vargas, who said that the fact Melbourne has won six of their past seven shows the club is on the right track.

"It would be nice to get a clean sheet for the backline and for Mossy (Glen Moss) as well but, at the end of the day, we're winning games and that's all that matters. If we were winning 4-3 or 6-5, it doesn-t really matter. We're getting the points on the board, that's the concern at the moment," he said.

Moss agrees that results are what matters and that clean sheets are only useful if you can actually score goals.

"I've got to agree with Rody to be honest. For a goalkeeper, I go out and try to keep a clean sheet but I know that at the other end we-ve got the power to get a couple of goals. To be honest it's the three points that matters, if we cop one, I don't mind if we score two," he said.

Vargas said a good result this week would consolidate the positive form of the past month and give Victory some breathing space ahead of the week's break.

"We're very aware that we are at the halfway mark, we are well positioned in the top two where we want to be with a week off coming up. It will be a good game for us to hopefully get another three points and I think we've gone through our rough patch early in the season and we're starting to reach top form and get all the boys back to fitness," he said.

"The Mariners are always tight and tidy. I think they-ve conceded the least amount of goals in the league. We know they'll be tough to break down. I don-t have to mention to you the attacking players we've got in the side and the havoc they have been causing and so we're looking forward to Archie, Carlos and Mate having a good run at the Mariners at the weekend."