Kevin Muscat (left) with star signing Ola Toivonen. Picture: AAP
Kevin Muscat (left) with star signing Ola Toivonen. Picture: AAP

Why talent-rich Victory will challenge Muscat

KEVIN Muscat's biggest challenge will be managing the club's star new recruits, according to Melbourne Victory great and ex teammate Archie Thompson.

The Fox Sports commentator said Melbourne City have given themselves a good chance at shaking the perennial bridesmaid curse with a strong but understated recruiting spree.

City finished higher than Victory last season on a rare occasion, yet Victory still managed to come up trumps by winning the title from fourth.

Thompson said there will be no repeat of last season's extraordinary title win from fourth, insisting that the competition was too strong this season.

Kevin Muscat (left) with star signing Ola Toivonen. Picture: AAP
Kevin Muscat (left) with star signing Ola Toivonen. Picture: AAP

World Cup stars Keisuke Honda and Ola Toivonen will be unveiled in Saturday night's much-anticipated derby opener, joining a squad full of big A-League names.

"Musky will be tested in terms of player management. It will be interesting to see how he (Muscat) involves Honda and Troisi and Toivonen - all the big names, how he manages them. They've come off a World Cup,'' Thompson said.

"I've got a man crush (on Honda). When I was part of the national team and we took on Japan, all the talk was about Kagawa and Honda."

Thompson said City would be tough to beat this season.

"They are (bridesmaids) and it's been like that probably their whole time in the A-League. They get to that final stage and just can't get over that final hurdle - maybe a few more experienced players (will help),'' he said.

"Last season their football wasn't great and any other year, Victory finishing fourth probably wouldn't have had a chance of winning the (title).

"This season will be different, I think you have to hit the ground running and finishing near the top because the quality is (better).

"Melbourne City haven't recruited anyone big but they've recruited really well, players with A-League experience.

"But when I look at Victory and the way they've brought in their signings, there's key internationals.

"When we had or success in 2015, we had the likes of Ben Khalfallah, Delpierre, Besart Berisha, Gui Finkler and Kosta (Barbarouses) - five key players."

Thompson admitted previous seasons had been underwhelming but was pumped for the 2018-19 edition.

"The last couple of years may have been a bit dull, but with the signings not just at Victory but at all clubs, have been strong. There's some real quality,'' Thompson said.