With the 2019/20 campaign set to be their worst ever, interim boss Grant Brebner says the club needs to bring in 'big-time, big-name, Melbourne Victory players' in the off-season.
It's now a foregone conclusion that Melbourne City will play in a finals campaign minus Victory for the first time in the history of their rivalry, and Western United’s potential to also join the play-offs remains in their own hands.
For a club where success, Premierships and Championships are an expectation and not an exception, the scenario is a significant blow to Big V pride.
Ahead of his side’s bottom-of-the-table-clash with Central Coast Mariners, Brebner admitted the club will use the form of their rivals as motivation for the 2020/21 campaign.
But the Scot warned against becoming too reliant upon external sources of motivation.
“Anything that we can use in those instances we would definitely be using,” he said.
“When we talk about using motivational things outside of our control, other teams, it’s probably a risky proposition. We have no doubt where we need to be and where we need to get to.”
Instead, the most important off-season task ahead of Victory, according to Brebner, was the club getting its own house in order.
“That’s getting players, recruiting well and getting the type of Melbourne Victory player that we need to compete,” he explained.
“We can look at all the teams in finals that are completing in finals and better than us but while we can look at other’s houses, we’ve really got to take care of what we’re doing.
“I think by recruiting well, and when I say recruiting well I mean Melbourne Victory type of players that are on the front foot, getting on the board, taking on the ball in tight, difficult circumstances over and over and over then we’ll be in a better position next season.
“Melbourne Victory... we can look back on players we’ve had that had legacies at this football club and will be remembered at this football club.
“The type of players we attract are big players. We need to go and get the best. We need to get the best in certain positions. Of course, we rely on them to perform, but we really need to work hard, better recruitment this year. We know that; there are no bones about it.
“Melbourne Victory players [are] big-time players, big names, but also know what needs to happen on the pitch.
“Look at tomorrow night, it’s Melbourne Victory vs Central Coast. We don’t want to be living on other people’s success at this club. The club is a big club, but we need to show on the pitch and the players need to continuously keep showing what it means to them to play otherwise they won’t.”
Having chaotically triumphed 3-2 over Victory in their last meeting, a defeat which ultimately cost Marco Kurz his job, a Mariners win on Monday evening would secure the Gosford-based side back-to-back wins over Victory for the first time since 2013.
A loss against Alen Stajčić's side would also secure Victory a new, unwanted record of their most ever successive league defeats with it looming as their fifth on the bounce.
On the flip side, the game likely represents Brebner’s sides best chance to pick up three points in their coming games, with games against Perth Glory and Western Sydney Wanderers to follow.
“We’ll be approaching that game from that mindset,” Brebner said. “There’s not a lot between the teams in terms of league position and points.
"If anything, they’re a team that is probably in better form than us – they picked up a point in the last game. While we are performing well, it’s a results-based industry and we need to start getting results.”
Brebner confirmed that young defender Aaron Anderson would be rested for the game, although Adama Traore and Birkan Kirdar – who both picked up knocks in the loss to Brisbane Roar, would likely play.
Despite the lean run of form his side was in, Brebner also said the player's mindsets remained healthy into the final weeks of the season and rumours surrounding the next Victory Head Coach – reports from Greece incdicate talks with Traianos Dellas have broken down and multiple reports from Australia and New Zealand have indicated Ufuk Talay is out – were not affecting the side, he said.
The Victory legend then reaffirmed that he wasn’t a candidate for the full-time role heading into next season.
“I genuinely do want to learn under the new gaffer,” he said.
“I’m not going to lie, I’ve loved it; I’ve really enjoyed this whole experience and while the results haven’t been what we’ve wanted, I’m taking a lot of lessons out of that.
“But my position is still the same, I want to continue under a coach in some capacity of learning.”