|By GREIG JOHNSTON
Melbourne Victory star Marcos Flores has declared the club will settle for nothing less than an A-League championship in season 2012-13.
After a slow start under coach Ange Postecoglou, Victory have been one of the benchmarks of the competition in the last three months.
They have lost just one match in their past eight to sit in second place and - as they prepare for their third derby of the season against Melbourne Heart at Etihad Stadium on Saturday - Flores said he had his heart set on the big prize.
"I believe in my dream - I came to Melbourne Victory to be champions. Not to be second, not to be third. I want to be the champion. Every day I'm working for that," Flores said after training at Gosch's Paddock on Thursday.
"We are improving. We are one team, if you see from the first weeks, [who] make steps forward every weekend. Even if a couple of weeks, we didn't get the three points, we were improving, improving, improving."
Although some have been critical of Flores' form this season, the Argentine feels he is playing his part.
"My role in the team is to work hard and make through balls and sometimes when we miss [the opportunities I create] no one remembers," he said.
"I try to work and improve myself and to try to find Archie [Thompson] and Marco [Rojas] more clear every time.
"I enjoy seeing Marco Rojas and Archie Thompson always in the highlights... I'm really, really happy to help them."
Flores said both he and the side had taken a while to click into gear in season 2012-13, but believes the overhaul in game plan implemented by Postecoglou has been worth the pain.
"When you change for beautiful things, when you change the philosophy, when you want to switch the passion of everyone - it's not easy," he said.
"For every person in this world, when you want to change your routine, it takes time.
"Everyone thought at the start of the season we'd score seven goals in every game, but slowly, slowly, we get to show we are a good team."
And Flores said that were it not for Postecoglou's footballing philosophy, he may not be plying his trade in the A-League.
"I have a lot of respect [for Postecoglou], and he's one of the important reasons why I came to the club," he said.
"I was so jealous when I saw him in Brisbane, when I was playing in Adelaide.
"I wanted to be under him, to be part of one philosophy - the way he drives the team and the way he wants to play.
"I'm really proud... to be here."
In other Victory news, midfielder Leigh Broxham, goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas and defender Nick Ansell have all signed new deals at the club.
Long-time player Broxham and youngster Ansell have clinched three-year contracts, while Thomas has agreed a deal to stay until the end of the 2014-15 season.