Muscat expects Victory versus Heart to be a genuine derby

Returning Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat is of firm belief that the derby with the Heart will instantly become a genuine rivalry.

In the past, the Victory have had ‘manufactured’ rivalries with the likes of Sydney FC and Adelaide United but Muscat, who is back for tomorrow night’s first-ever A-League Melbourne derby after an ankle injury, believes this one is for real.

“You look to these games like all around the world. All the derbies are a derby because of the geographics,” Muscat said.

“We created a rivalry with Sydney over a certain amount of games but there’s no doubt that this game is a head start (on a rivalry) because there are two teams in one town.

“It’s the same as Adelaide. We played them a number of times over a number of years in finals and you create a rivalry. Not so much manufactured but those rivalries came because of contests we had with them.

“But this game here automatically gets billed as the derby and for me it will be the pinnacle of the A-League.”

Melbourne Heart coach John van ‘t Schip agreed with Muscat’s sentiments and knows that a match of this magnitude isn’t necessarily a factor of form.

“A derby is a special game. I played a few in Italy (for Genoa against Sampdoria) and I doesn’t matter what your ranking on the list is, those games are totally different from every other game so it will be very interesting tomorrow,” he said.