Perth Glory were the dominant team last season but it's a different case now after they slipped 10 points adrift of the A-League lead.
Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic insists he isn't worrying about the growing gap between his A-League side and the top two, but concedes his new-look defence is still a work in progress.
Glory's back four were exposed in Saturday night's 3-1 loss to Sydney FC at HBF Park.
Although Perth created plenty of chances themselves, they looked vulnerable on the counter as the Sky Blues' attackers beat the off-side trap time and again.
The result means Glory have posted just one win from six games, leaving them a sizeable nine points adrift of second-placed Sydney and 10 behind leaders Melbourne City.
It's in stark contrast to last season, when Glory came out of the blocks firing before wrapping up the Premiers Plate with two rounds to spare.
Perth now face a tough double road trip in which they will take on Melbourne Victory and City in consecutive Friday night games at AAMI Park.
Winning the A-League title from outside the top two is difficult but Popovic is adamant he's not focusing on the ladder.
"I haven't looked at it. I'm not interested in the gap at all," he said.
"They (Melbourne City and Sydney) deserve to be there (in the top two). They've won five games, so they deserve to be up there.
"We haven't won those games, so we are where we are. We've just got to keep fighting."
Glory sorely missed defensive duo Alex Grant (suspended) and Osama Malik (hamstring) against Sydney.
Grant will return against Victory but doubts remain around Malik's availability.
The loss of defensive linchpins Matthew Spiranovic, Shane Lowry, and Jason Davidson during the off-season have hurt sixth-placed Glory, who are yet to post a clean sheet this season.
"The reality is that all the players that came in, came very late and came at very different fitness levels and some with previous injuries," Popovic said of his new defensive signings.
"For Dino (Djulbic), that was his first start since the grand final.
"Greg (Wuthrich) is still getting fitter. James (Meredith), it's only his second game. Kim Soo-beom has come off a back injury before he got here.
"There's a lot of players in the backline who are needing time."
Sydney will take a three-game winning streak into next Sunday's away clash with Western United.
The Sky Blues have scored 14 goals in six games but coach Steve Corica feels they are yet to reach their potential.
"The games that we've played now, we've created a lot of chances. Maybe we should be scoring more goals than we are," Corica said.
"There's more to come, definitely."