The rookie coach says he was forced to examine his own efforts after watching his team demolished twice in quick successionKevin Muscat has admitted he questioned himself after overseeing consecutive 5-0 defeats, but insisted he still believes in the work being done at Melbourne Victory.
Successive thrashings away to Wellington Phoenix and at home to Sydney FC have left the one-time A-League title contenders reeling, with a berth in the finals under threat if their form does not improve.
On Friday they make the long trip to Western Australia to take on Perth Glory, who have only lost once at home this season.
And after last week promising an exhaustive analysis of what has gone wrong within the camp, Muscat revealed he included himself in that examination of the team's deficiencies.
"I certainly believe in what we're trying to do here. (But) without doubt I assess myself after last week," he said.
"I'd like to think that everyone would who is associated with the football club.
"I've got firm belief in what we do and it's been proven that when we do it right that we're a good football team and can put any team to the sword. But finding that consistency has been puzzling."
Some Victory fans and media personalities have called for Muscat to move away from the high-risk 4-2-4 formation which failed so spectacularly against Wellington and Sydney, but Muscat claimed the effort shown by the players is more important than tactics employed.
"I think the application within the structure's got to change," he said.
When pressed on whether or not he has considered packing the midfielder and playing for a draw at nib Stadium in an attempt to stop the rot, Muscat was unequivocal: "I haven't given that any thought to be honest.
"A lot's been said and will continue to be said because it puts them (pundits) in the papers and on the TV, but from my perspective, I think we're still the second and third highest scorers in the league.
"What I'm trying to say is if we apply ourselves in the right way, I think there's been enough evidence to say we're good enough."
The unsettled Victory defence will undergo yet more changes against Perth, with Adama Traore likely to replace Dylan Murnane at left-back, and Pablo Contreras due to come in for the suspended Adrian Leijer. Nick Ansell will keep his place in the middle, with Scott Galloway to operate at right-back.
"Ado's not available, Adama comes back in from suspension," Muscat said.
"I can't remember the last time we had a settled line-up but that's a fact, not an excuse."
Finally, loan signing Tom Rogic is set to start after making his debut off the bench against Sydney.
"We've pushed him as much as we can in the last couple of days," Muscat said.
"I thought he was bright when he come on, obviously in difficult circumstances."
Kosta Barbarouses is carrying a foot problem and James Troisi will be dropped after his poor form of late, meaning Andrew Nabbout and Archie Thompson will occupy the wide attacking positions, with Guilherme Finkler and Tom Rogic to play central.
Rashid Mahazi is likely to partner Leigh Broxham in holding midfield.
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