A top two position is still realistic according to Malik as City lock horns with Central Coast Mariners on Thursday night.

Melbourne Victory’s 3-0 loss to Wellington Phoenix will help City’s chances of breaking into the top two.

History suggests winning the Championship outside the top two is nearly impossible. City sit behind their crosstown rivals placed third with undefeated Sydney FC topping the table.

Malik also said his side's 2-1 loss to his former club Adelaide United last Thursday was harsh with Mark Ochieng scoring the winner in the dying stages.

“I think anyone watching the game last week would say we probably created enough chances to win,” Malik said.

“I thought we were very unlucky to lose, so there’s no concerns here, we know we’re doing the right things and eventually the results will come.

“I think it is realistic, as long as it’s mathematically possible, there’s always a chance.

“The top two is our goal, we’ve only just passed the halfway mark, there’s a lot of games to go and a lot of points to be won so we’re still confident.

“We’ve spoken about it, we’re in a position now where we can’t really rely on other results so we’re just going to focus on ourselves.

“You can’t say in the games we’ve played since the final we haven’t deserved to win, we played Sydney away and I thought we were a bit unlucky so on our day we can beat any side.”

Malik was full of praise for young centre-back Ruon Tongyik and acknowledged the comparisons with former Socceroo Milan Ivanovic, made by interim coach Michael Valkanis.

“I’ve been coached by Milan. I didn’t see much of him play, I’m hearing comparisons. He’s a classic player and he’ll be good as long as he keeps applying himself,” he said.

“He came into to the Reds when he was young, he’s just grown so much physically and also the way he’s playing. He’s going to be an amazing player I think and he’s got a really good character as well.”

City were engaging in a leadership training program at the club’s training ground which saw 90 young people take part in the cause.

Malik, who was involved in the Yarra Pathways program in Fitzroy, praised the initiative.

“I think it’s really good what the club is doing,” Malik said.

“Any way we can to engage the community and especially the young kids who are going to be future leaders, I think it’s really important.”