Melbourne Victory striker Andrew Nabbout says his side have the determination required to wipe out the nine point gap between them and the top six in time for the Hyundai A-League Finals Series.
Victory approach an Original Rivalry bout with Adelaide United on Saturday night (7:30pm AEDT kick-off) in ninth place, three wins adrift of Brisbane Roar in sixth place on the table.
If Nabbout and the Victory plan to make an assault on the Finals Series places they'll need to do it now, with just eight games remaining in their Hyundai A-League 2019/20 campaign to bridge the nine point gap.
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Despite the almost insurmountable odds stacked against them, Nabbout says Victory will approach the Original Rivalry clash and the remainder of the season with the vigour of a side gunning for a place in the Finals Series, as they know no other way of playing the game.
"We’re still in it," Nabbout said.
"We’re nine points away from Brisbane now, the boys are just determined to get as many points now in the next five or six games, that’s about all it is.
"It’s just about taking maximum points, taking it game by game and hopefully we can get there in the end.
"As long as it’s mathematically possible to make the finals we’re never going to give up.
"Even then, we’re contracted footballers, we do this for a living and we have to go out there and take three points no matter what the circumstances are."
Victory's opponents on Saturday night come into the contest still wincing from the 5-2 thrashing Western Sydney Wanderers dealt them in Round 20.
The flattening defeat left Adelaide one win outside of the top four, with a number of teams below them - including Victory - eager to hunt them down to replace them in the Finals Series before the season's end.
But the Reds have had the wood over Victory in recent history: they've won the past four Original Rivalry games, the last of which breaking their four-game losing streak which had built up between Rounds 11-14 earlier this season.
Reds midfielder and former Victory star James Troisi says expectations of his new side need to be managed as they look to build better consistency in their results.
"I’ve said it all along, people got a little bit carried away when we were winning at the start of the season, I think we won [four] in a row," Troisi said.
"It’s very quick to see how things change.
"I think consistency is key, that’s the most important thing especially now with eight or nine games to go.
"We kind of need to rectify those things as soon as possible if we want to have the chance to finish in a good position, which we can do very easily.
"It’s all over the pitch, not just defensively...it’s structure, it’s mentality, it’s a bit of everything."
Four Original Rivalry losses in a row doesn't make easy reading for Victory's players and fans alike, but Nabbout says a fast start is all that's needed to catch the Reds on the hop, break the streak and send the home fans away from Marvel Stadium satisfied.
"We’ve lost to Adelaide twice this year and we’re not looking to do it a third time," he said.
"Taking three points this weekend will be huge for us and it will help us kick on for the next few games, and storm into the finals hopefully.
"We need to take hold of the game from the beginning; we can’t let them play.
"They’ve got the quality to play if we allow them to, but if we put them on the back foot early and press them it’s going to be a tough night for them.
"Hopefully we can do that this weekend, the boys are ready for it.
"We have a few players back as well; it’s going to be a good turnout so hopefully we give the fans a bit of a show."
Saturday, 29 February 2020
Kick-off: 7.30pm AEDT
Venue: Marvel Stadium
Broadcast: FOX Sports 505
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports
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