Victory lament worst performance

Victory coach Ernie Merrick and captain Kevin Muscat have spoken of their disappointment after what Merrick labelled his team's worst performance of the season in the first Melbourne derby against the Heart on Friday night.

Victory coach Ernie Merrick and captain Kevin Muscat have spoken of their disappointment after what Merrick labelled his team's worst performance of the season in the first Melbourne derby against the Heart on Friday night.

The two-time Hyundai A-League champions went in at half-time level after Robbie Kruse had cancelled out John Aloisi's 10th-minute opener but Alex Terra scored what would prove the sealer for the newcomers 10 minutes after the resumption.

The game was played before 25,897 fans, with the Victory enjoying the majority of the support but Muscat said after his first match back from an ankle injury he was devastated not to have claimed at least a point.

"I didn't feel we were certainly out of the contest at any stage but certainly we were nowhere near our best," Muscat said.

"In these type of games you get nothing for free (and) we didn't earn enough tonight so it's as simple as that."

"We're just shattered and disappointed because the atmosphere we all witnessed was outstanding and our fans they go home disappointed tonight and I certainly feel for them."

"I just thought it was a game we really wanted to win and it cuts deep to sit here tonight and for them to go home with the spoils."

"But credit to them and we look forward to the next one."

Merrick lamented the inability of Carlos Hernandez to direct a header in the final minutes on target, soon after Geoff Kellaway had been played into the box without taking his shot but was most disappointed with the movement forward from the midfield.

"Credit to Heart, they closed us down, they stopped our passing game and we just couldn't get into a rhythm or flow," Merrick said.

"In the first half they seemed to shut us down in the middle and they were creating chances on the flanks very well, both flanks."

"And when we sorted that out in the second half you still need to have a goal ... and if you don't score goals you put yourself under a lot of pressure."

"I think that was our worst performance this year and it's a pity because it was a fantastic atmosphere out there."

"Both groups of supporters were first-class, it was a great night for football, I'm sure they enjoyed an open game but I thought we played really poor football tonight."

Happy with his team's defence, in the coming weeks Merrick will be looking for his midfield to provide better service and for his strikers to make better runs, the coach believing his team fell down in both areas on Friday.

"We seem to lack good quality runs from the strikers at the moment," Merrick added.

"I think he's coming on all the time Ricardinho, I think it was more to do with the service tonight, I just didn't think we got our midfield going."

"I was happy with the defence, we didn't give away too much."

"The midfield started to click more in the second half but I think the service has got to improve."