Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat says getting three points in Wellington this week will spur the side on to a successful finals’ campaign.
After collecting a point in Newcastle last weekend, Muscat said his side expected to improve in New Zealand on Saturday.
“The performance has to be spot on tomorrow night,” Muscat said in Wellington on Friday.
“There was a certain amount of resilience in the side last week and we clearly didn’t want to lose. But there’s no point dwelling on what could’ve been, we’re now in a position of what can be.”
Muscat confirmed midfielder Tom Rogic and defender Pablo Contreras didn’t make the trip to New Zealand, while defender Nick Ansell will come straight back into the starting XI in the centre of defence, allowing Leigh Broxham to return to his more familiar midfield role.
Asked if he was happy to be playing the Round 27 clash before other sides this weekend, Muscat said the schedule didn’t phase him and his side simply had to go out and ‘put the runs on the board'.
“There’s certainly advantages either way, but it doesn’t really bother me. We need to win. Performance normally dictates the result and we are concentrating on our performance.”
Over the past month or so, Muscat said nearly every clash Victory had been involved in had been labeled as 'must-win’ and the squad was aware of the expectations being placed upon it.
“As a coach and as a player, you want to be playing in the big games and they’ve been pretty big the last six weeks. Tomorrow night is no different.
“The common theme and feeling in the group is that we want to be successful. Performance is paramount.”
With everything from second place to sixth a possibility for the boys in blue, Muscat said he hadn’t being thinking through any hypothetical scenarios for Victory’s finals' fixture.
“Regardless of where or who we have to play or whenever that is, I haven’t given it any thought whatsoever. Our focus is to get our performance in Wellington spot on. When our performance is high quality, the result certainly looks after itself.
“It’s their (Wellington’s) last game and they don’t want to end up on the bottom of the ladder. I’m more than sure they’ll put up a fight.”
Melbourne Victory will take on Wellington Phoenix on Saturday, April 12 at 3.30pm (AEST). The match will be broadcast live and exclusive on Fox Sports