Muscat stays stum on international absences

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat has refused to be drawn on the discussion of the A-League recognising international windows despite half a dozen players being unavailable for Friday’s season opener.

Victory faces Adelaide United at Adelaide Oval in a Round One blockbuster on Friday night, but both sides have been hit hard by internationals being unavailable.

The A-League champions are without Scott Galloway, Jason Geria, Connor Pain and Giancarlo Gallifuoco due to Olyroos duty, while United lose Tarek Elrich and Eugene Galekovic with the Socceroos.

With a growing representation of internationals in the A-League a number of clubs will be hit for the season’s opening round.

The return of the A-League comes a week after both the AFL and NRL seasons concluded – in an ideal result for television networks, but in a clash with the international window.

The A-League has aimed for a big bang start with the 2015/16 fixturing, but the absence of star players is an issue.

“It is what it is,” Muscat said. “I can't wait for the competition to start.

“This is almost a reward for the players that they’ve got a game at the end of the week.

“We’ll just go into it and embrace that this is the opening of the competition. And we’ll start with a bang.”

Pics: Victory training ahead of their blockbuster season opener

Meanwhile, Muscat says there’s no reason why Victory “shouldn’t reach for the stars” as they try to win three competitions this season.

The A-League champions are through to the FFA Cup semi-finals where they’ll face Victorian NPL club Hume City, while they’ll compete in the 2016 Asian Champions League which starts in February.

Western Sydney Wanderers’ 2014-15 league campaign was ruined amid a series of commitments as they went all the way to win the 2014 Asian Champions League.

Victory have been forthright in their ambition to succeed in Asia and Muscat wasn’t reserved when asked about the challenge of juggling all three competitions in 2015-16.

“Why not? I can’t see any reason why we shouldn’t reach for the stars,” Muscat said.

The Victory coach preferred not to dwell on their ambition for the campaign ahead, though, with Friday’s clash at Adelaide Oval on his mind. Muscat promised an “aggressive” performance.

“Right here and now it’d be remiss of me to even discuss or contemplate anything but getting our performance right tomorrow night,” Muscat added.

“We’ve prepared really well. We go across to Adelaide and go to the oval and we’ll be aggressive in our intent to attack and score goals.”

As well as the Olyroos quartet, Victory will be without Archie Thompson and Nick Ansell due to injury, while Carl Valeri didn’t train on Thursday morning but will skipper the side. Muscat said squad depth wasn’t an issue.

“It’s not been mentioned once,” Muscat said. “The boys that have been away and we’ve got a couple injured. It’s an opportunity for somebody else.

“The best way to sum it up is we’ve got the utmost confidence in the entire squad.”