After seeing his side slump to a narrow and controversial 1-0 loss to Sydney FC, Newcastle Jets coach Ernie Merrick remains optimistic about his side's chances of playing finals football this season.
The Jets have now lost three matches in a row and though still seventh on the ladder, are now 10 points shy of sixth-placed Adelaide United.
While a big deficit to make up with less than half the regular season remaining, Merrick is adamant he has the squad to play finals for a second year running.
"I think that can be done," Merrick said.
"If you get on a run of three games, three wins, it changes things enormously.
"I still feel that we'll definitely make the top six and play in the finals.
"This puts more pressure on the players to perform. I try to take the pressure off them but some of the youngsters can't cope with it.
"Some of the more senior players love it. I don't think it's a good thing to always feel like you have to get three points but we're capable of doing it. We've still got a good squad."
Newcastle finished last season in second and made it to the grand final before losing to Melbourne Victory.
The Jets' season to date had been hamstrung by a lengthy suspension to Roy O'Donovan, but even his return has failed to fire them up the A-League ladder just yet.