Melbourne Victory are still targeting top spot in the Hyundai A-League despite falling six points behind Central Coast Mariners, midfielder Billy Celeski said on Thursday.
A 1-0 loss to Adelaide last week left Victory in third, well behind the Mariners and two points adrift of the Western Sydney Wanderers, who they face at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
With seven regular-season games remaining - including a trip to Bluetongue Stadium - Celeski said the premiership was still the goal.
"That's why we're here, that's why we're at this club. We want to finish top," the 27-year-old said after training at Gosch's Paddock on Thursday.
"I think the message has been loud and clear from the beginning that we want to finish on top. If there's three points up for grabs each week, we want to get all three."
Victory coach Ange Postecoglou must make at least two changes for the Wanderers clash as Archie Thompson (calf) and Adama Traore (suspension) will miss out.
Celeski was full of praise for Tony Popovic's Wanderers, who have performed above expectations and sit second in the A-League.
"They're doing very well - obviously sitting second. Poppa (Popovic) is doing a great job up there," he said.
"He's got them well organised and it seems that the boys have gelled very well and are working very hard for each other so full credit to them, they're doing very well."
Celeski has starred for Victory in the centre of midfield this campaign and credited Postecoglou for his role in helping him recapture his best form.
"It's been enjoyable. The biggest thing for me is being injury-free this season and getting a bit of continuity in my game. Playing week in, week out really helped me," he said.
"(I'm) really enjoying myself this season and I hope it continues.
"Obviously Ange has been a big influence on my game this season. The style of football that we play definitely suits my game. I think a lot of it comes down to him being here."
While Victory's ability to adapt to Postecoglou's possession-based style so quickly has surprised some, Celeski is excited by their improvement.
"We've been working at this since day one of pre-season. It's been non-stop," he said.
"We haven't really changed anything much from day one, it's just been all about ourselves and our structure and improving every day.
"The improvement might seem rapid to a few but within the club, we're really excited at how quick we're moving and we think we've still got a little bit of improvement in us."