American defender Lauren Barnes says other clubs in the W-League have caught up to Melbourne City.
City have won the last two Championships from fourth and Barnes said they needed to get the ball rolling soon to push up from seventh on the table after five games.
The Melburnians are coming off a 1-1 draw to Adelaide United at home, where they were on the verge of winning before Georgia Campagnale equalised in the 97th minute.
Barnes added it wasn’t panic stations at Bundoora and was still confident they could get a result over Newcastle Jets away on Sunday.
“To be honest, we always have a slow start, so it’s not something that’s new to us,” Barnes told The Women’s Game.
“I actually give credit to the W-League because it’s growing. The competition has been so hard and it’s never easy to go into these games anymore.
“I think it’s a huge positive for women’s soccer because we have to show up, get our act together and make sure we start doing the small things right.
“Good on Adelaide to never give up, those games are heartbreakers, but it’s why you play.
“I’ve been in this league five years now and every year it’s been so much fun to watch. The W-League is growing and it’s a big reason why I keep coming back.
“The standard is definitely higher, three years ago, City came in and set a good example for women’s soccer and where everyone should be. I think everyone is closing that gap, so it’s a huge positive.”
City had several key outs before the season which forced coach Rado Vidosic to blood teenagers in the opening rounds.
Youngsters Nia Stamatopoulos, Chelsea Blissett and Aimee Medwin replaced the Matildas in the squad who had not arrived or were injured.
While there may be some concerns for throwing youngsters into the deep end, Barnes said she was happy they were getting a chance.
“It can go so many different ways, but personally, I think it’s great they’re thrown in there,” she said.
“I know there isn’t much time to think, but all our young girls have done great, they’ve all worked hard and deserve to be out there.
“At the end of the day, it’s great for their personal growth and I think with that experience under their belt, they’re just going to get better and better each game.
“It’s never ideal to start a season slow, you always want to go in and be on top in pressured situations. We’ve been slowly gathering our team together and we’re all coming in now fit and healthy, so it’s always going to be a positive.
“You don’t want to leave it too late, but I’m pretty confident in the group. It’s a great group this year. We are pretty motivated, determined and we’re happy with the results, it’s our driving force which turns into a positive.”