Muscat plays down title talk

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat has moved quickly to douse any thoughts of silverware after watching his side move to the top of the A-League ladder with a 3-0 away win against Wellington Phoenix.

The win puts Victory in pole position to gain their first Premier's Plate since 2008-09, but Muscat quickly shut down any talk of premierships or championships.

“That sort of stuff is that far away, that you’d be very naïve to fall into that trap," he said.

“There’s so much more football to be played and the focus is now to get ourselves recovered, get ourselves back to Melbourne and we’ve got a massively important game on Friday night against Newcastle. Why? Because it’s the next one and we won’t look any further than that.

"Anyone who does want to look any further than that won’t be a part of it because you’re not focused and you’re not concentrating on the job at hand.”

The Melbourne Victory mentor was however glowing in his praise for his players after they dominated Wellington at Westpac Stadium.

“From start to finish I thought we were in complete control and dominated the game," Muscat said.

"Collectively, to a man, everyone performed close to their best. When we do hit those heights, we’re difficult to deal with.

“It was a different performance from us tonight because we had to be a lot more patient than we usually are, and waiting for that opportunity.

"In the final third, getting the ball from our midfield to our attacking players was superb. We asked a number of questions of them defensively tonight and eventually we got our goals."

Like many other A-League coaches, Muscat is relishing the closeness of this season’s play-off race.

“I’d prefer to be six or seven points clear," he grinned.

“It’s great for the competition and that’s why looking four games down the track is naïve.  What [today] does do is give me confidence that when we do play good football, we’ve got a good chance of getting a result. We also go into next week’s game with a bit of confidence. That’s all it does, nothing more."

Muscat also confirmed that Victory goalkeeper Nathan Coe was replaced early in the second half after experiencing back stiffness just before half-time.