Finkler: Grand Final a must for Victory

Melbourne Victory’s Brazilian star Guilherme Finkler says the time is now for the club to reach the A-League Grand Final having not played in the decider since 2010.

Victory haven’t won any A-League silverware since the 2009 Grand Final win over Adelaide United and Finkler said in the club’s 10th year, and first full campaign under coach Kevin Muscat, the squad needs to deliver.

“I think we need to be in the Grand Final this season,” Finkler told FourFourTwo. “It’s the 10th anniversary of the club and we have to be there.

 “If you play for Victory you have to think like that. It’s the biggest club in Australia, big supporter group.

 “It’s our aim to be in the Grand Final and we’re going to work very hard to get there.”

 The Victorian outfit have long claimed to be Australia’s ‘biggest club’ given their on-field success with trophies and off-field success with support, but have been surpassed in the former by Brisbane Roar.

Expectations are high at Victory, following the off-season arrivals of Socceroo Carl Valeri, former A-League Golden Boot Besart Berisha and ex-Bundesliga winner Mathieu Delpierre.

Finkler is also aiming to make a bigger impact, aided by his first full pre-season since arriving in Melbourne, where he and his wife are now settled.

The Brazilian missed the start of his first pre-season upon signing with Victory in 2012, and was on the sidelines last year after a serious anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Finkler spent most of the first half of last season working his way back to fitness as a substitute, but begun to rediscover his best by season’s end, memorably scoring a late winner in the finals against Sydney FC.

“To have a full pre-season is most important for all players and I’m no different,” Finkler said.

“I’m happy to get the full pre-season and hopefully I can start playing good football from day one.”

The 28-year-old, who led the A-League charts with eight assists before his ACL injury in 2012-13, said he hadn’t set himself any goal or assist targets in 2014-15.

“The biggest target is to be in the Grand Final," Finkler said.

"If we make the Grand Final we’ve got 90 minutes to play to try and win the trophy.

“I don’t think too much about targets. I just want to win trophies and then goals and assists will come during the season.”

One of Victory’s likely goal threats in 2014-15 will be Finkler’s new team-mate Berisha. Finkler’s creativity and Berisha’s predatory instincts hint at an ideal partnership.

The duo’s partnership is only fledgling, but after rooming together for 10 days in Sydney for the A-League All Stars match and playing their first Victory game together in the 2-0 FFA Cup win over Bayswater City last week, they are beginning to strike an understanding.

“He’s a quality player," Finkler said. "He’s so easy to get along with.

“Bayswater was our first game together. We’ve been training together, but training and games are different.

“In the first half we got some good combinations but we have to improve.”

Victory will next be in action in pre-season on Tuesday in regional Victory against Ballarat Red Devils.