MELBOURNE Victory coach Kevin Muscat says his players are 'victims of their own success' after being accused of failing to capitalise on the numerous chances they are creating.
Victory produced a typically dominant performance in a 2-0 win at home to Perth Glory on Friday and arguably should have received far more reward on the scoreboard, having fired off shot after shot on the besieged visitors' goal throughout the 90 minutes.
Muscat believes the criticism being directed at his team is unfair, and called for critics to focus on the amount of opportunities they are creating, rather than lambasting the team for their profligacy.
"I think, especially in recent weeks, the question keeps coming (about) the amount of chances ... but the reality is I think sometimes you're a victim of your own success," he said.
"Because we are creating a number of chances, it's easy to highlight that we don't score them all. I'd rather we create more chances and ending up one or two-nil, rather than not creating the chances and struggle to get the result."
Attacking midfielder Mitch Nichols produced another eye-catching performance against Glory, prompting claims he could challenge for a berth in the Socceroos' Brazil World Cup squad.
"You'd have to ask Ange," Muscat said when the suggestion was put to him, referring to Australia coach Ange Postecoglou.
"I think Mitch is an outstanding player. The nature of our business suggests we have to highlight individuals. (But) from my perspective Mitch Nichols couldn't have performed at the level he did tonight if he didn't have 10 other mates supporting him."
Victory's attention now turns to the derby match against Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park next Saturday, with Muscat reluctant to state that the eagerly anticipated contest will provide his players with more motivation than usual in the days ahead.
"The preparations for this week can't be any different to any other week," he said.
"If we say the preparations for this week are going to be better than last week or any other week then I wasn't doing my job last week. Certainly I'm looking forward to it, without doubt."
Finally, the ex-Wolverhampton Wanderers and Millwall hardman addressed the fact he topped a rundown of the most violent football players of all time on a Spanish website, a story subsequently picked up by some Australian outlets.
"Oh that's a rort! I can't believe that got air-time," he said.
When it was put to him that he beat out players like Roy Keane and Andoni Goikoetxea, the latter nicknamed 'the Butcher of Bilbao', to claim the dubious accolade, Muscat shook his head and said: "No, I'm not proud of that."
The wry smile playing upon his lips as he left the media conference, however, may have suggested otherwise.