Six games in 29 days.
This is the task at hand for Melbourne Victory interim boss Carlos Salvachua who not only has to manage his injury-prone side through this busy period, but also qualify for the A-League finals.
Salvachua created history last Tuesday in becoming the first coach in Melbourne Victory’s history to lead the side to its first competitive win overseas and guiding the club to its eighth Champions League campaign, which kicks off in mid-February.
But the task only gets harder from here with the Victory scheduled to travel to Perth, Newcastle and Seoul throughout the next month.
Salvachua is aware of the “big risks” he will need to take over the next month, with several players needing extra care as a result of recurring injuries throughout the season.
“We arrived 24 hours ago and now we are travelling to Perth, we tried to do recovery today and tomorrow morning just preparing another tough game in Perth,” he said.
“We know we are in a tough month now and next month will be the same with a lot of games and just a few training [sessions]. But we know how important the training is to recover the bodies and during the weeks with one game we have to train in a different way than we do it with these weeks.
“We know it’s a big risk in these moments because some players are playing in all the games and we have to manage, if it’s possible, their minutes and have to be ready for these situations.”
The Victory only have the one day to recover this week before flying out to face a Perth Glory side unbeaten in seven matches.
James Donachie will return to the side after being suspended while Marco Rojas will play his first game since joining the club in the January transfer window.
Meanwhile the club is in an active search to replace the out-going Thomas Deng who joined Japanese giants and 2018 ACL runners-up Urawa Red Diamonds.
“He’s a big loss for us, the departure for Thomas Deng, and now the club is working as hard as possible to [bring in] a new player,” Salvachua said.
“We are changing some things, but we don’t have time to change a lot of things in the first week. We have five games in 15 days, we know the situation every day we try to improve try to go to straight and every day is a new step to build up to what we want to do.
“[Perth] are good at the moment in the competition they continue doing the things like last year in a good way and we know this is a big opponent tomorrow. But now we have to win games in the A-League if we want to go to the finals and finish the competition in good moment. We know this is difficult to play in Perth, it’s always difficult not just this year.”