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Melbourne coach Merrick: Next two home games are vital

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick admits the club's next two home games are vitally important.

The reigning champions have taken just four points from their opening four games which includes two losses and Merrick is confident that his side will sharpen up, especially in defence.

"Our next two home games are an opportunity for us to get maximum points," he said.

"We are playing the right kind of football, but there's no point in playing like that if you are going to give away cheap goals, so we have worked on things defensively and on our set plays.

"We all assume that it's the back line when you talk about defence, but in footy terms it's called frontal pressure. It's to do with everyone having a defensive job and preventing simple crosses and good quality passes from midfield.''

Merrick will be forced to make at least one change for Thursday night's home clash with Newcastle Jets as star midfielder Carlos Hernandez is on international duty with Costa Rica.

Matthe Kemp is expected to step into a left-back role which could mean a midfield start for Nicky Ward.

Captain Kevin Muscat is close to a recall following a hamstring injury sustained in Round 1.

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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