Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat admits he will make changes for their dead rubber Asian Champions League clash against Shanghai SIPG on Wednesday night.
Victory’s 6-2 defeat against Ulsan Hyundai on matchday five signalled the end of their campaign, rendering Wednesday’s match at AAMI Park meaningless by way of the result.
SIPG meanwhile will enter the game already knowing their fate as winners of Group F.
With little to play for and with the A-League finals just over the horizon, Muscat declared fans could expect personnel changes.
“There’s certain things that we’ve factored in in relation to the game tomorrow night and we’ve got a game on the weekend,” he told a media conference.
— Melbourne Victory (@gomvfc) April 17, 2018
“We’re treating this game in isolation and there’s opportunities … for some players who have maybe not played so much football recently.
“It’s a good opportunity for individuals and for the team to go out and put on a performance for themselves and for the team and for the football club.
“I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to the opportunity that it gives us.”
While the faces on the field were likely to be different, Muscat eluded to some structural changes with the possibility of two up front.
“If we decide to go with Pierce (Waring) and Kenny (Athiu), there is the option of that. We still haven’t finalised (it), but there’s a chance of that happening.”
The mega-rich Chinese giants though have brought out star man Hulk.
That means Rhys Williams, and whoever partners him in the heart of defence, will have the task of dealing with the Brazil international.
But the centre-half was looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s what football’s all about, playing these big names and it’s all credit to them coming over when they’ve won the group,” Williams said.
“It’s good for our boys here, whoever comes up against players like this, it’s going to benefit not only the player but the team.”
SIPG defeated Victory 4-1 in China earlier in the tournament.