Brisbane Roar manager Mike Mulvey has downplayed the hype surrounding this Friday’s blockbuster A-League fixture against Melbourne Victory, saying it is “just another game” for the league leaders.
The match will serve as Ange Postecoglou’s farewell from Victory following his appointment earlier this week as Socceroos coach for the next five years, however Mulvey suggested the media attention was misplaced ahead of the match.
“I tell you why it’s big for them – they haven’t got a win on the board yet,” Mulvey said on Thursday morning at Roar’s Ballymore training base.
“They’ve played two games and they’ve drawn two games, and there were scenes of delirium last week when they got one point. So we’re going down there this week very, very confident,” Mulvey said emphatically.
Despite admitting he was “mightily impressed” by Victory’s second half comeback after falling two goals behind to Adelaide United last week, Mulvey said his concerns remained with his own side.
“I don’t really care about the opposition. I don’t care what they’ve done or what they are going to do – I only care about our preparation,” Mulvey said.
“That’s not being inhospitable to the opposition but it’s just us taking care of ourselves because I’m very confident that if we take care of ourselves then anything is possible.”
Roar are the only team to take maximum points from the opening two rounds of the season following wins over Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC. However, Mulvey described comparisons to Roar’s back-to-back championship sides, which were coached by Postecoglou, as “inaccurate”.
“It’s done nothing this team,” Mulvey said of his current squad. “We’ve got six points – that’s not a team that’s achieved anything other than two wins.”
“It’s a long, long way to go to emulate anything from the past,” he reinforced.
Captain Matt Smith echoed his gaffer’s sentiments, saying the players would not be distracted by the week’s Socceroos dramas.
“We’ve watched the events unfold down in Melbourne, but that’s Melbourne not Brisbane. We’re Brisbane and we’re focused on what Brisbane has to do,” Smith said.
“They may be playing for different reasons, but for us it’s about increasing our performances from the last couple of weeks,” he further explained.
“We didn’t start as well in Wellington but we got the three points. We performed much better against Sydney and now it’s our job to go down to Melbourne and get the three points again.”
On Thursday, Melbourne’s daytime maximum temperature of 16 degrees was half that of the Queensland capital, however Smith said the juxtaposition of weathers would not be a concern for Roar.
“It’s easier going from heat to cold than cold to hot,” he explained.
“A lot of teams get to Brisbane and go ‘wow’. It’s very, very sticky here, so for us it’s not too bad going from hot to cold.”
Mulvey supported his captain’s assessment, suggesting Victory had more to worry about than his own side if the chill lingered for Friday night’s kick-off.
“We run faster in the cold,” said Mulvey assuredly.