ACTION MAN: Adelaide United's Henrique is ready to unleash his skills against Melbourne Victory.
ACTION MAN: Adelaide United's Henrique is ready to unleash his skills against Melbourne Victory. JAMES ELSBY

Henrique ready for Victory

HENRIQUE has no hard feelings about featuring in Kevin Muscat's catalogue of carnage, but the Reds flyer is set on piercing Melbourne Victory in Saturday's clutch clash at Hindmarsh.

Former Brisbane star Henrique was sidelined with a broken arm from rounds six to 21 of the 2010-11 A-League season after a collision with then Victory captain Muscat at AAMI Park.

Muscat, now Victory coach, would go on to cop a career-ending suspension for wrecking Melbourne City winger Adrian Zahra knee in round 24 of that season.

All that is in the past for Henrique, 31, who instead is focusing on popping second-placed Victory's bubble, as reigning champion United attempts to lift anchor from the bottom of the A-League harbour.

"It is a long time ago. I don't think about it,” Henrique said.

"It was a big injury, I was out a long time but these things happen in football. He is a great coach.”

Henrique still gives Muscat the benefit of the doubt, despite the hardman attracting 95 yellow and 12 red cards for venomous tackles representing Crystal Palace, Wolverhampton, Millwall and Rangers.

"I don't believe he came in challenge to break my arm,” Henrique said.

That injury is long forgotten as Henrique works hard for Adelaide United.

"I feel as fit as ever, playing 90 minutes, running a lot, scoring goals,” he said.

"We will play to our strengths and don't want to give them a chance.”

Henrique loves high-profile rivalries, having established a reputation for excelling in A-League deciders.

For instance, he rebounded from the Muscat-inflicted injury with a miraculous comeback - scoring in injury time then adding a penalty for in a match-winning grand final brace against Central Coast Mariners.

The diminutive forward also scored in Brisbane's 2013-14 grand final triumph against Western Sydney Wanderers.

"In big games we need big players. I have played a couple of big games and tried what I can to get the result,” 145-game veteran Henrique said.

Henrique says his typecasting as an impact sub is misguided and he can't wait to start against Victory.

"I always started when I first came to Australia which people forget. It's only the last two or three years when I had an injury where coaches used me off the bench,” Henrique told The Advertiser.

Henrique feels indebted to Reds coach Guillermo Amor for revitalising his A-League career as a starting winger and says the side is determined to fulfil the Barcelona legend's vision.

"We are still confident we can make the finals. We are working really hard and when you have the talent it is a good sign; there will be results,” he said.

"Guillermo is a great guy, good coach, all the guys respect him. We all believe in him and work harder than ever to change things.”

THE ADVERTISER



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