May 16, 2015 11:51:53 UK
Melbourne Victory are fine-tuning their fitness as they go into a season-defining Grand Final against Sydney FC, according to Gui Finkler.
Although Kevin Muscat’s side have already won their first piece of silverware for six years, the Premiers’ Plate, it won’t be much consolation to them if they fail to go on and clinch the championship at AAMI Park on Sunday.
There may not be much to choose between the sides, given that they couldn’t be split in any of their three regular-season meetings.
I think everyone is already prepared mentally.
Both came through their semi-finals with three-goal wins and, while Victory are happy to be hosting the game, Sydney have no fears of playing away from home as they were unbeaten in their 14 league games on the road this season.
Finkler says Victory’s players regard Sunday’s Grand Final as the whole season in 90 minutes, and that the club have been looking forward to being involved in the decider since starting pre-season.
The Brazilian playmaker, who is 4.00 to score at any time in the Grand Final, added: “We’ve got to prepare physically. I think everyone is already prepared mentally. We’ve got to be more hungry (than Sydney) to win the game and be successful. Who will be more concentrated and better prepared is going to win.”
Victory are 2.25 to beat the Sky Blues, who are 3.10 with the draw 3.60.
It’s a huge game for Muscat, his first Grand Final as a coach and five years on from him being on the losing side the last time Victory made a Grand Final – when they lost to Sydney on penalties.
It will also be a potential send-off for Archie Thompson, who also featured that day and could be playing his last game for the club as he is out of contract at the end of the season.
Finkler turned professional 10 years ago and has played in South America and Europe, but he says he feels this is the biggest game of his career.
“I would always pick the game that I have in front of me, it’ll be the most important,” he added. “So yes, it’s a Grand Final and it’s the biggest game that I will be involved in.”
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