Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou wants to turn John Aloisi’s first game in charge of the Melbourne Heart into a nightmare on Friday.
Both teams were put through their final paces on Thursday ahead of the clash at Etihad Stadium, which is expected to draw a bumper crowd of more than 35,000.
First-year coach Aloisi has taken over a side that has lost young stars Curtis Good, Brendan Hamill and Eli Babalj, and Heart will start underdogs for the season opener.
Asked whether he had any words of advice for Aloisi, Postecoglou was frank in his response.
“Absolutely zero. I couldn’t care less to be honest. Tomorrow night I hope he has the worst possible start,” the former Brisbane Roar coach said.
“Whether it’s John, Tony Popovic or Ian Crook coaching their first game, or someone like myself who is experienced, I can guarantee there will be equal pressure. Neither of us want to lose. “
Postecoglou said the Victory squad were raring to get their season underway following four months of arduous pre-season training.
The fact the match is a Melbourne derby only adds to the hype.
“It is exactly why I came down here. I didn’t expect them to hide us away at Wellington or Newcastle,” Postecoglou said.
“You know it’s a derby, you know it’s a big game and you know there will be 40,000 there.
“Even me with zero running in pre-season would go out there and give it a shake so I expect the players to work hard,” he said.
Postecoglou said Victory had a full squad to choose from and the rivalry for selection was evident in Thursday’s high-tempo final training session.
“They’re looking bright and cheerful at training and the last session was sharp which is what you want from your last session and they’ve all put their hand up for selection,” he said.
“We’ve been going for four months so we’re more than ready.
“We kind of needed it. We’ve made a lot of changes, not only in personnel, but the way we train and the way we play.”