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Muscat relieved as Victory hold off Phoenix

The new man in the hot seat doesn't want to see his players threaten to give up a promising position again after letting their opponents back in it on his coaching debut

Kevin Muscat hopes the nerve-wracking finish to his first match in charge of Melbourne Victory will not be an indication of things to come in the club's top job.

Archie Thompson's opener and a James Troisi brace saw the Victory race into a 3-0 lead at home to Wellington Phoenix in what was Muscat's competitive debut as the fulltime head coach following Ange Postecoglou's departure to the national team.

Although the Phoenix got a goal back on 35 minutes, the game fizzled in the second half, and the hosts looked to be cruising to a straightforward win at Etihad Stadium.

Substitute Paul Ifill had other ideas, making it 3-2 with six minutes to go and ensuring a nervy finish for the Victory and Muscat in particular.

"I don't want them like that every week to be honest," he joked afterwards.

"It started off, I thought 'this is pretty easy, this' after 30 minutes. But they gave us a good run for our money in the second half. There's things we need to go away and have a look at and work on, but ... there's loads of positives."

Muscat is no stranger to successful outings in Victory colours, winning two A-League titles as a player and serving as assistant to Mehmet Durakovic, Jim Magilton and during Postecoglou's promising reboot of the club during the last 18 months.

Although the 40-year-old admitted it felt different to bear the ultimate responsibility for the team's performance, he sought to move the spotlight quickly away from his personal circumstances.

"I suppose it does (feel) slightly (different)," he said.

"But ultimately the football club receives three points. It's irrelevant if you're a player out there tonight, assistant coach or head coach. The football club receives three points. And when we go out we represent this football club.

"I thought ... that first half hour was as good a football as we have played (this season).

"There's obviously some things we've got to work on, but all in all, it's a good three points for us."

One man undeniably impressed by the home side was Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick, who knows a thing or two about making the navy blue and whites tick.

When asked if Victory can challenge for the title this season, the club's ex-manager said: "Definitely."

"They've got a good team, they've been together for a while. They're playing fast, exciting football. They're pretty deadly up front. They'll certainly be a major challenge this year for any club. I expect them to do well in the finals, not only get there."

Next up for Muscat and Victory is a 'Big Blue' clash against traditional rivals Sydney FC, who are yet to win this season, with speculation mounting over Frank Farina's future as their coach.

The new man in charge of the navy blue and whites claimed to have little interest in the uncertainty surrounding the Sky Blues, but vowed to do everything possible to increase their discomfort.

"I don't know what their state is but I certainly know what our state will be," he said.

"We'll certainly be ready for them."

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