Melbourne City coach Warren Joyce has declared his A-League side ready to win their elimination final against Adelaide United on Sunday...if they can just put in a good shift.
With Jamie Maclaren back at “100 per cent” fitness after a toe injury and Rostyn Griffiths pushing to be available ahead of schedule following a hamstring strain, City believe they are about to hit full stride.
Several of their players were rested for a last-up 5-0 belting of Central Coast and will come back into the reckoning against the Reds.
Joyce showed the club's confidence on Friday, speaking ahead of their trip to South Australia.
“The players are pretty confident that whoever they play, if we’re at our maximum, we can beat anybody,” Joyce said.
The problem being, as Joyce well knows, City are too often well short of their best.
Marquee defender Ritchie De Laet admitted as much this week when he said the playing group felt they’d let the club down.
"We feel we are better than fifth. Obviously the table doesn't lie, but with the quality we have ... we definitely should have done better,” he said.
“There's been two or three games this season where as a team we just didn't show up at all.”
Joyce defended his side against accusations of underperforming, saying the side carried out the game plan but came unstuck in the creative moments.
"The games where we’ve lost it’s mainly individual errors,” he said.
"A couple of the games we’ve lost, we’ve had 65-70 per cent possession and we couldn’t do anything with it.
"I don’t think that’s not turning up. It’s not having the little bit of quality required at that particular time to turn chances into goals or to create enough chances.
"Not turning up is when somebody has completely outplayed you and played you off the pitch and you’ve had no clue or way to stop them.
"I can’t recall any games like that barring the Sydney game.”
That clash, a 3-0 loss in round three, was the last time City were beaten at home.
On Sunday, they’ll head to Adelaide with their season on the line, a place where they’ve not lost in two seasons.
Joyce has declared that stat “meaningless”, saying he’s fully aware of Adelaide’s threats.
"They’re a well organised side. They’re experienced. They make good decisions. They don’t give up. They keep going and they can run,” he said.
"They’ve got stars. Goodwin has been as good a player in his position as any Australian or marquee player in the league.
"Isaias still a top player. Jakobsen still a good player in this league ... they’re a good team (so) we’ve got to be at our best."