Ahead of Saturday’s A-League semi-final Sydney FC have been referring to their opponent as Melbourne with use of the word Victory banned.
For the past two seasons Mike Conway has been the Sky Blues' emotional intelligence, resilience and leadership adviser.
After winning back-to-back premierships for the first time in A-League history, and now on the cusp of playing in consecutive Grand Finals, Conway’s influence over Sydney FC is difficult to dispute.
As part of their mental preparation for Saturday's semi-final, Sky Blues pair Alex Brosque and Michael Zullo referred to their opponent only as Melbourne when they fronted the media at Bondi beach.
With the Sky Blues unbeaten by Victory in their past two seasons, including last term's Grand Final, Brosque believes Conway’s influence has taken Sydney to a higher plane.
“The mental side of that is very important,” he told FourFourTwo
“It’s about just focusing on ourselves and not worrying about the opposition and it’s worked for us.
“In the last two years we’ve worked a lot with Mike (Conway) and the mental side of the game and for me it’s taken us to another level."
Brosque also revealed that dropping the Victory moniker isn’t limited to just their interstate rivals.
“It’s not so much Melbourne, it’s every team we play against,” he said
“It’s about us not focusing on them at all. Not give anything away in the media or anywhere that can give them extra ammunition.
“Already being champions, we know that we’ve been hunted all year, that teams want to beat us and that every team lifts when they have played us this season."
Brosque’s teammate, Michael Zullo, feels the Sky Blues have had a psychological advantage over their A-League rivals during their history breaking campaigns.
“A lot of professional sport is about belief and determination,” the left-back told FourFourTwo.
“At the top level it’s about finding the way to have a mental edge and a physical edge against the opposition and we definitely have a physical one.
“Mentally, all we think about is winning and all we visualise is winning. It’s a very powerful tool that we've used to great success over the last two years.”