Melbourne Victory's torrid battle to get into the top six is not yet taking a toll on the players, according to Archie Thompson, who said he and his team-mates will refuse to give up in their chase for a spot in the finals.
The weekend's results, which saw Victory lose 3-2 to Brisbane and three of the four sides above them win, mean Melbourne face a tough ask to claw back into contention as they are five points behind Sydney FC in sixth place.
But rather than view the situation as negative, Thompson said the motivation is higher than ever and he feels the team are only now starting to play some of their best football.
"We gave Brisbane a little shake in that second half and that is a positive if we can keep building on that," he said.
"When you look at it, we needed to get some results in the last two games and when you have to play Central Coast and you have to play Brisbane away, it was always going to be hard."
"But we know that we have to keep winning and it wouldn't be fair on our supporters if we started to give up now. I think with the squad we have and the football we are starting to play, we still believe we can make finals."
On paper, the path gets a little easier for Victory, who face embattled Gold Coast on Saturday night.
But Thompson said there is so sense of taking the foot of the pedal against the league's bottom team, despite the turmoil which has erupted around the club and the fact they have lost coach Miron Bleiberg in controversial circumstances.
"You find that when players are up against it, they find something special. We are not going to Gold Coast thinking it is going to be an easy game. They gave it to Heart last week. It's going to be difficult still, I think we are confident we can go and get three points," he said.
Between the Gold Coast game and the subsequent clash with Newcastle, Thompson and his team-mates Harry Kewell and Mark Milligan will be part of the squad for the World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia at AAMI Park.
Instead of a hindrance in Victory's campaign to make the top six, Thompson sees the Qantas Socceroos match as a good circuit breaker for him.
"It's a good distraction for myself. I haven't been part of the Socceroos set-up for a while and for me personally to represent your country I think is the pinnacle," he said.
"It makes me feel like I want to perform well on Saturday so I can put my hand up for a starting position on Wednesday."
He doesn't see it as the first step back on the path to playing the 2014 World Cup, and will take his international chances as they come.
"I'm not quite thinking World Cup but any part of being with the Socceroos for me is a bonus. I'm just going to keep enjoying my football and if that gives me a position to be part of a World Cup then fine, but I'm happy at the moment to be part of Socceroos team," he said.