Valeri's hunger game: Who wants it wins
Melbourne Victory may have failed to beat Sydney FC in three encounters this season, but Carl Valeri doesn’t believe they were their toughest opponent.
The mind games continued ahead of Sunday’s A-League Grand Final where the competition’s traditional heavyweight rivals will resume battle for the fourth time this campaign.
The two clubs have had 0-0, 3-3 and 3-3 draws in their three matches this season, but on Sunday there will have to be a winner.
Despite that, when asked which side had been Victory’s toughest opponent in 2014-15, Valeri wasn’t sold on the Sky Blues.
“I thought Adelaide were fantastic all year,” Valeri told reporters.
“I thought Adelaide really matched us and caused us a lot of trouble. In saying that, so did Newcastle.
“It’s hard to say, Sydney are definitely a tough team. They’ve got a lot of experienced players. It was a fairly even competition.”
The veteran Socceroos midfielder won lower division titles in Italy with Grosseto and Sassuolo and knows the key ingredients of a champion team.
Of course, Australia’s championship is determined with the one-off Grand Final format rather a first-past-the-post system, but he believes hunger will be decisive on Sunday.
"Grand finals are different games," he said.
"It's the team that's willing to work the hardest, the team with the more desire that gets you through it.
“It doesn't matter what you do tactically or any strategies, it's just down to battles. Whoever's hungry enough is going to win it."