Victory camp to build solid foundation
FOOTBALL: They're the reigning champions and have made some big-name signings in the off-season, but Melbourne Victory will take nothing for granted and need to "re-earn respect” as the 2018-19 A-League season rolls around, according to coach Kevin Muscat.
The Victory are currently in the midst of a week-long training camp on the Sunshine Coast and were out in the sun at Sunshine Coast Stadium completing skills and drills on Tuesday.
Muscat said the camp had been the first opportunity to field the whole squad, including recent star signings Keisuke Honda, Raul Baena and Ola Toivonen.
Although their championship-winning ranks had been bolstered he said they weren't the only ones strengthening their line-ups and that the Coast camp was important for solidifying the playing group.
"We'll focus all our energy on re-earning respect at this point in time and there's nine other teams at the bottom of the mountain and we're the 10th team,” he said.
"We're here to re-earn our respect and re-earn everything that we do about ourselves and this week is a great opportunity to lay down some real strong foundations.
"It (camp) gives us some good contact hours with the team in relation to training, and the physical component is important, but there's many aspects that are just as important in relation to players getting to know each other.
"(The) more you get to know about each other the more you care about your teammates and peers.”
Victory captain Carl Valeri had high hopes for looming competitions.
Although disappointed with their recent FFA Cup loss to APIA, Valeri said the club's new signings had "hit the ground running” and was optimistic for the coming A-League and AFC Champions League seasons.
"I hope I don't sound arrogant when I say this but the Melbourne Victory hope to win everything and they create the team and environment where we can compete to win everything and that's what we want to do and that's why players come here and why I love playing for the club,” he said.
"We want to be at the top or thereabouts in every competition we play in and, first things first, the A-League gets up and running soon and we really want to have a good crack at that because although we did win it we know that there was a lot of room for improvement and it's something we've been working on this pre-season.”
He was confident the Victory had compiled a "winning squad” in the off-season.
"But you just can't say that, you actually have to produce out on the pitch and it's a long way to October 20 but you can feel the excitement start to build,” he said.
Melbourne Victory will hold an open training and fan engagement session from 3.30-5pm on Thursday at Sunshine Coast Stadium where local football enthusiasts will have an opportunity for a look at the A-League champions in action, and grab an autograph or a photo with the players.