Muscat channels pressure into performance

Dec 16, 2017 - 3:20 AM If this was the toughest period of Kevin Muscat's management career no one would know, so determined is the Melbourne Victory coach to pour every ounce of energy into resurrecting their dwindling A-League campaign.

Victory travel to bogey venue Suncorp Stadium on Sunday in seventh place with two wins and 10 points from 10 games. It's been a surprisingly desolate run of results for a side stacked with its customary talent.

More than a third of the season is gone and so are the excuses.

Muscat is under pressure to rediscover some semblance of consistency against sixth-placed Brisbane without one of his central figures in Mark Milligan (hamstring).

But, while admitting this campaign is "unique for a number of reasons", the championship-winning coach is adamant there's been no personal reflection on his predicament.

"I've not really thought about it, because that would be me looking back and a waste of energy," Muscat said.

"I'm certainly embracing the challenge ... all my energy has been about giving everybody the best opportunity to perform better.

"The focus has to be on performing. As a group we've gone through that and worked tirelessly throughout the week.

"The focus hasn't been about (media) articles or history or challenging times, it's purely been about performance."

Muscat said there'd been "some conversations" with players this week on how to remedy the malaise, and felt confident a turnaround was close.

In Victory's favour will be the string of injuries haunting the Roar, including to star Frenchman Eric Bautheac (hamstring).

For Brisbane's visitors, the timing of Milligan's own hamstring issue is unfortunate.

Muscat indicated it was not severe, though whether the Socceroos player will be ready for next week's Melbourne derby is unclear.

"Millsy is already running and ticking off all the boxes," he said.

"We'll just keep persevering with him and working hard.

"Everything I've seen from the group this week has indicated they're ready and they've accepted responsibility."


* Brisbane have won three of their past four meetings at Suncorp

* Victory are winless at the venue since 2015

* No team has scored more second-half goals than Victory (11); but they have a league-low two in the first half

Source: AAP

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