Reds out to stop the rot

It's believed that ‘the longer a record goes, the closer one is to breaking it’, and the Reds will be hoping they can put their nightmarish record of 10 straight losses to Melbourne Victory to an end on Sunday.

It's believed that ‘the longer a record goes, the closer one is to breaking it-, and the Reds will be hoping they can put their nightmarish record of 10 straight losses to Melbourne Victory to an end on Sunday.

Each game and subsequent loss against the Victory brings increasing pressure on the Reds to bring it to a halt. As much as they have tried not to let it come into their psyche, the Reds have not been able to totally shut out talk of the record leading into each match against their biggest rivals. However, the build up to this game has been a little different and United Head Coach Rini Coolen knows it.

While a hectic festive period has left the Reds with some injury concerns heading into the match, one positive the heavy schedule has done is not give the players a lot of time to dwell on the poor record against the Victory.

Coolen says it is impossible not to take the losing streak into account, but that rather than the hoodoo hanging over the club, this game is more about looking at the big picture of locking down second spot, gathering momentum up the finals and getting as many players fit and available as possible.

“We have to think about that of course,” Coolen said on the 10 loss record to the Victory.

“But we have to work from week to week. We had a lot of important games in the last couple of weeks so all of the attention was how it should be, from week to week, and now the pressure starts building up for this game.”

“I think it-s a special game for the players and for me now as well because I know what kind of game it is, so we have to prepare our team for that in a tactical way, a mental way, but first we have to wait and see what players are available.”

“But it-s definitely a special game for us and hopefully we can beat them, so that-s our challenge.”

The Reds have to go back to October 2007 for the last time they experienced a winning feeling against the Victory. However, it is significant to note that seven games of the ten losses have been played in Melbourne. Once again the teams will face off in the Victorian capital, but this time the match is at AAMI Park, a ground the Reds have only played at once, in which they recorded a 2-0 win over Melbourne Heart back in November.

The Victory head into the match off the back of a 2-0 loss to the Wellington Phoenix midweek, but Coolen expects them to come back hard on Sunday, especially with the return of inspirational captain Kevin Muscat, who was rested from the trip to New Zealand.

“They (Melbourne Victory) will be ready for this game, that-s for sure, so we have to prepare ourselves for a real tough game,” Coolen said.

“But we have a lot of confidence from our last two games and we have to go for the three points.”

With the Reds just hanging on to second spot with six games to go, there is more than just putting the end to an unwanted record to play for on Sunday.

Kick-Off is at 2.30pm (ACDT) and the game can be seen LIVE and exclusive on Fox Sports 2.