Finkler declares Perth game as 'grand final'

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We may be less than halfway through the A-League season but Gui Finkler has declared Sunday’s match against Perth Glory a ‘grand final’ for Melbourne Victory.

The champions are enduring their worst-ever run in 11 years of the A-League, hurting from four straight defeats.

Saturday night’s 2-1 loss to bitter crosstown rivals Melbourne City has seen Kevin Muscat’s side drop to fifth on the ladder, seven points behind league-leaders Western Sydney Wanderers.

Its given huge importance to this weekend’s clash with the resurgent Glory at AAMI Park.

“It’s going to be a grand final for us,’’ Finkler told the Herald Sun.

“We’ve been chasing three points in the last four games and, at home now, we have to win, there can be no other result.

“To be honest, before the four games we were on top with a game in hand, now we’ve lost four in a row and it’s something we didn’t expect.

“We’ve got an experienced squad and we know we haven’t been at our best. We’ve showed good signs and we have to pick ourselves up for Sunday’s game and train hard to ensure we get three points against Perth.”

While there is mounting pressure on the star-studded Victory squad, their second half performance against City on Saturday night indicates they are close to rediscovering their best form.

Victory peppered City’s goal for an equaliser but just couldn’t beat the exceptional Thomas Sorensen in City’s goal.

“Saturday night was really disappointing, especially in the second half we put in a good performance and created a lot of chances,”Finkler said.

“When the goalkeeper is man of the match it shows you that the other team was knocking on the door, but it wasn’t our night.

“At least we showed a lot of heart. I was really proud of the boys especially after the tough game in Perth and the short turnaround. We created more chances in that half than in the other three games combined.”

Victory is awaiting results of scans for midfielder Rashid Mahazi, who limped off in the second half against City with a knee problem.

They can ill-afford to be without the impressive youngster, with skipper Carl Valeri also side-lined at the moment.