A-League: Machach to embrace atmosphere of Melbourne derby

Melbourne Victory star Zinedine Machach has called for his team to adopt a “killer instinct” to ensure its great start to the A-League season doesn’t go to waste.

The Victory went unbeaten in their opening 15 games of the campaign before finally losing 1-0 to Macarthur FC at Campbelltown Stadium last Sunday.

However, with the Melbourne club having drawn nine games in its 15-match undefeated run, the loss perhaps stung even more than normal.

Machach, the 28-year-old French midfielder who has taken the A-League by storm this season, was frustrated with the defeat.

He was confident the Victory would “show more” against Melbourne City in Saturday night’s derby at AAMI Park, but needed to be ruthless.

“After we conceded the goal (in the 21st minute against Macarthur) we started to play, we played well, we played better than Macarthur, and especially in the second half, we had many chances that we missed,” Machach said.

“That’s football but we also must find that killer instinct, and not just in attack but in defence also.

“It was the same in the four games before the loss. We drew all four, but we played better than our opponents. We created many chances but we found it hard to score.

“If we can’t fix that, we will suffer.”

Machach, who has scored five goals this season, predicted the derby atmosphere would bring the best out of the Victory against a City side desperate for redemption after last Saturday’s embarrassing 5-1 away loss to Brisbane Roar.
“Both teams will be desperate. I want to be quicker in this game. I want to win every game – I want win the league,” he said.

Machach – who was once on the books of Italian top-flight outfit Napoli – also “wants” to sign a new deal with the Victory, with his current contract expiring at the end of the season.

“I’m really enjoying it here and I like the style of football in Australia,” he said.

“It’s physical, it’s box-to-box, the teams want to attack all the time – I like that.

“Everyone has been very good to me at Melbourne Victory, and I’m very happy here.”

Machach was full of praise for Victory mentor Tony Popovic.

“He’s an unbelievable coach. He believed in me as soon as I got here, and gave me a lot of confidence,” he said of the former Socceroos defender.
Popovic said Machach was in the “prime” of his career and ready “kick on”.

“We were lucky to get him,” Popovic said.

“When we saw that he was signed by Napoli as a younger player, we were excited because if you’re signed by Napoli at 22 or 23, you have to have some talent.

“He’s giving us plenty on and off the field, He’s a pleasure to coach. We feel there’s a lot more to come from him.

“He’s in discussions with the club about next season. From my understanding, all parties are happy, and it’s just about making the deal happen.”

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