Adelaide United are proving hard to dislodge from the A-League top six after taking seven points from their first three matches since the competition resumed.
A resurgent Adelaide United are hitting their straps under interim coach Carl Veart, with Norwegian striker Kristian Opseth one of the chief beneficiaries, as the club looks to secure an A-League finals place
Thursday's 5-3 win over Perth in Sydney gave sixth-placed United seven points out of nine since the competition resumed and Veart took over after Gertjan Verbeek left during the pandemic-enforced break.
Just prior to the competition shutting down in late March, Adelaide lost four in a row, leaking 15 goals in that time
"I think the boys were lacking a bit of confidence before the break, we were in a bit of a hole and we couldn't get out of it,"' said Veart, who was then the assistant coach.
"After the COVID break, we came back and I really emphasised to the players that I want them to enjoy their football.
"It's about them enjoying and expressing themselves and I think we saw that tonight with some of the football they played was great."
Opseth who scored just twice under Verbeek, has struck the back of the net in each of United's three matches under Veart.
"'We changed our style a little bit, we've asked him to do different things to what he was doing before," Veart said
"I thought tonight he was outstanding, his work rate. I challenged him before the game that I needed him to do a little bit more work for us in our pressing and winning the ball back for us.
"Tonight he won so many balls back for us and not just that, the link up play that he had with Riley (McGree) and Stefan (Mauk) and Benny (Halloran) was fantastic.
"I'm so happy for him because he's worked extremely hard in that break we had, he came back the fittest player in our group."
Veart was non-committal about his prospects of being appointed full time coach, although securing a finals spot would surely boost his chances.
"At this stage, just focusing on the games and doing well for the club," he said.
Despite their late season surge Adelaide are still no certainties to make the top six.
Seventh-placed Western United are four points behind with three games in hand and a much better goal difference.
Adelaide are level on points with fifth-placed Glory, but Perth have a better goal difference and a game in hand.
Adelaide have two tough matches to finish with, runaway leaders and Premiers Plate winners Sydney next and then third-placed Melbourne City.
Veart added: "We most probably need to win our last two games to make the finals."