Thomas Deng of the Victory trains in Melbourne.
Thomas Deng of the Victory trains in Melbourne. JULIAN SMITH

'We'll persist': Kevin Muscat not concerned by early losses

ONLY once before has Melbourne Victory lost the opening two games of a season.

That was in 2012 when the Ange Postecoglou-coached side broke its duck in round three against Adelaide United.

Victory will be hoping history repeats itself against the Reds at Adelaide Oval on Friday night as it seeks to avoid losing its first three games of a season for the first time.

Not hiding behind international disruptions as an excuse, Victory boss Kevin Muscat is unashamedly convinced his side's performances against Sydney FC and Melbourne City deserved greater reward.

And so how does Muscat hope to improve on an attacking display last week that he said delivered plenty of balls into the penalty box for little scoreboard success?

Attack some more.

"I'm not stressing any more or any less than other weeks," Muscat said.

"Last week was the highest return of balls into the box into goalscoring areas that we've had in a long time.

"In the end there were a number of times where they were forced to defend desperately, an inch here or there and it could have been so different.

"We want to increase the quality of those balls into the box and try to get more bodies into the box as well.

"We'll persist."


Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat.
Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat. DEAN LEWINS

This is Victory's fourth trip to Adelaide Oval, a ground at which it has had two draws and one loss.

More than 1200 Victory fans will also make the trip.

After his side's 2014 encounter there Muscat lashed the state of the playing surface, but the boss said he has no such concerns this time.

Victory must replace central defender James Donachie, who tore his quad off the bone against City and had surgery on Wednesday.

Muscat confirmed Thomas Deng would come in, but remained cagey on positioning, with both he and Leigh Broxham capable of playing centrally or on the left.

"(Deng's) football talents before he left were evident," Muscat said.

"He went away and he's matured a hell of a lot. But that was forced upon him and in hindsight probably helped him, moving out of home, living out of home. He's matured a lot physically as well.

"Understanding how Adelaide play, you're going to have to defend a lot of balls placed over the top of the back four, so whether he starts at left back or centre back, we'll decide (on Friday).

"But either way we feel comfortable."

News Corp Australia

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