Ange sets sights on top spot
Coach Ange Postecoglou feels Saturday's emphatic 3-1 win over Sydney FC can prove the launching point for a Melbourne Victory surge.
Victory have now moved to second on the table, five points behind leaders Central Coast Mariners and face the other four teams currently in the top five - the Mariners, Reds, Wanderers and Heart - over the next month.
With such a stern run of matches to come, Postecoglou felt a positive result in the Australia Day clash against the Sky Blues was crucial to his hopes of reeling in the Mariners and claiming the club's first premiership in four years.
"We've been chipping away at it. I think after round four, we were three losses and one win. We're in second spot now, there's only one spot to go," the coach said.
"With nine games to go, the Mariners are going really well at the moment but we want top spot and we haven't shied away from that, that's where we want to finish. We've got a gap to bridge."
"Over the next four weeks, we meet some teams that are around and if we get through that and keep improving our play then we will make it a tight finish."
Having had 18 games under him as coach, Postecoglou feels that the team is finally starting to click to his plans.
"We're just getting to that stage of the game where the players are believing what we are doing and understand that regardless of what we face out there, if we do stick to our structure and method of play that most of the time we will overcome whatever challenges are thrown at us," he said.
Postecoglou said the huge build up to Saturday's game - given it was Australia Day and Alessandro Del Piero's first appearance in Melbourne - meant it was a significant test of his players' composure and they came through that with flying colours.
"We're really pleased. Obviously it was a big build up to the game. We're trying to become a dominant force in the league, days like today put a question over whether you are up it or not," he said.
"Sydney were up for it, there's no doubt about it. They had a great win last week and they had some momentum."
"You look at their players in their line-up and I didn't see many who were going to be intimidated by the atmosphere, so I knew they would be a tough opponent for us."
"The fact we were able to get on top of them early and control the game is a good sign for us."