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Muscat unafraid of grand final showdown

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/05/2017 Emma Kemp

Kevin Muscat is sorry to burst Graham Arnold's bubble, but grand final week is not round 29.

The approach to Sunday's season decider at Allianz Stadium has been starkly different in each camp.

Hot favourites Sydney are hell-bent on sticking to the same routine that's delivered the premiership and a host of records.

Sydney FC coach Arnold and his players have made 'round 29' their catch-phrase, signifying that this week is business as usual.

While both Arnold and Victory coach Muscat confirmed a healthy respect between Australia's two biggest teams, the mind games continued at Saturday's pre-match media conference.

But sitting next to Arnold, Muscat took issue with that, saying his team is pumped for the big occasion.

"It's a grand final, because there's no round 30 is there?," Muscat said.

"We've embraced the week. We don't think there's anything to be scared of. It's a grand final and I'm not afraid.

"You turn up for the first couple of days in pre-season and it's probably where you want to be. And very quickly it turned into where we expected to be.

"This is the position we expected to be in."

Arnold on Saturday conceded this was a bigger game than any other, but explained his methods had been about minimising any potential disruption inside his squad.

"It's about preparation, it's about routine," Arnold said.

"It is a big game. We know that, clearly.

"But the message to the players is routine. What you did for the other 35 weeks with pre-season and carrying out the game plan is the key."

The famously fiery pair have a significant history, but that will be left behind on Sunday and their only concern will be taking home the A-League championship.

"There is a professional respect without doubt on the football side of things," Muscat said.

"It's ultimately a game of football that we're all trying to win.

"Very very soon the time will come when the words will stop and actions will dictate who is going to win.

"We've got a lot of threats and we'll utilise them as soon as possible and see how far it takes us."

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