Victory up for A-League challenge

Anna Harrington
Melbourne Victory coach Carlos Salvachua says his side's focus is on their next game only

On a high after their comeback win over Adelaide United, Melbourne Victory are aware they'll need to be at the top of their game to upset A-League leaders Sydney FC on Saturday night.

Victory have lost two previous matches against the Sky Blues this season but closed to within six points of the finals places, with interim coach Carlos Salvachua emphasising his team's improvement since their last meeting in January.

"They are the best team in the league; it is clear, not just against us, against all the teams," Salvachua said.

"It's not easy for any team here in the A-League to beat them and now I think that we are in a better moment than five weeks ago."

Salvachua emphasised his team couldn't look beyond Saturday's clash at Marvel Stadium.

"They are strong and they have the opportunity or the chance to lose games - five or six - and they will finish in the first position," he said.

"We don't have this advantage - we have to win games but in our mind it's just the next game."

Victory will be without left-back Adama Traore (hamstring), while Sydney welcome back Paulo Retre from suspension.

Despite a mid-week ACL draw against Jeonbuk, last week's Sydney derby loss and the preceding ACL loss to Yokohama F. Marinos, Sydney FC boss Steve Corica was adamant his team wasn't dipping in form.

"Obviously it's a busy time for us, going from Champions League to A-League but the players have got to adapt to that and make sure we get results on both sides of the competition," he said.

"I believe (Victory) are a good team, they have a good strike force and they got a very good win last week; their confidence will be nice and high now leading into this game.

"Our approach is the same - we are aware of the opposition but it's all about us and how we want to play, how we defend and if we go into the game (with) high intensity and do our job correctly, then the result takes care of itself."

STATS THAT MATTER

* Sydney FC have won each of their last four A-League matches against Victory, only keeping a clean sheet in their most recent

* Sydney FC have won each of their last two A-League matches against Victory at Marvel Stadium, after never recording back-to-back wins across their 16 previous fixtures at the venue (W4, D5, L7).

* Victory have dropped 14 competition points from winning positions this A-League campaign, more than any other team in the competition, while no team has lost fewer points from winning positions than Sydney FC (2).

Stats provided by Opta