Slumping Melbourne Victory can not only still win the A-League championship but they can dominate, says returning striker Archie Thompson.
Thompson will be back from a hamstring injury to play Newcastle at AAMI Park on Sunday, after watching as the Victory lost to the three clubs above them – Adelaide, Western Sydney and Central Coast.
The star frontman said the one positive was that the slump has come while there is time to rebuild form before the finals.
Thompson said the Victory had strayed from the playing style coach Ange Postecoglou wanted.
But he had no doubt they were good enough to claim the title if they returned to it.
“Everyone says anyone can beat any team on their day,” Thompson told AAP.
“But I believe if we really play to the structure we’ve been working on all year and everyone’s disciplined in what they do I believe we can get out of that saying of: ‘Any team can beat anyone.’
“We can really dominate.
“We’ve just lost our way a little bit, but as I said I’d rather do that now than when it comes finals time.”
He acknowledged a season-ending knee injury to Brazilian Gui Finkler and the current absence of Argentinian fellow playmaker Marcos Flores (quad) had contributed to a loss of momentum, after that duo had formed a dangerous attacking quartet with himself and Marco Rojas.
“When you lose key players in key positions and you build a lot of your gameplan around that it’s obviously hard,” he said.
But he said young replacements such as 19-year-old Connor Pain were showing good signs.
While last round’s 6-2 flop against the Mariners was the most lopsided scoreline of the Victory’s three-loss run, Thompson found the previous weekend’s 2-1 defeat to the Wanderers even more galling because it was a rare home defeat.
He said beating the Jets, who are resting Emile Heskey and Michael Bridges and have lost Zenon Caravella to injury, would regenerate some spark.
“Sometimes these sort of wins are good for the supporters and also give us confidence and belief that we are still a very good team and have a good chance to win finals,” he said.