Melbourne Victory coach Merrick rues costly defensive errors

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick insists things could be a lot different this season if his side had have defended better in their opening three matches.

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick insists things could be a lot different this season if his side had have defended better in their opening three matches.

Last season’s runners-up have recorded two draws and a loss so far this season but Merrick says the situation could well be in their favour if it wasn’t for lapses in the back third.

''Apart from our defending at set plays we could have had two wins and one loss in the first three games,'' Merrick said.

''We have conceded seven goals in three games, but four of them have come from set plays - one penalty, one free kick that we didn't really know why it was given, one free kick from a wing and one corner.

''We have got to work on that and get it right. It's all to do with discipline and not giving free kicks away in the first place, and then defending them better if we do get one against us.”

Merrick will be hoping they can improve in defence when the Victory takes on Gold Coast United at Skilled Park on Sunday but they will buoyed by the fact that United’s star striker Shane Smeltz will not be on the pitch as he has left to chase a contract in Turkey.