Leigh Broxham has argued Melbourne Victory aren't in a "form slump" after two straight defeats and has challenged his team-mates to end Sydney FC's unbeaten run on Thursday.
Victory's bid to win the A-League premiership has copped a couple of blows over the past week after losing away to Wellington Phoenix and Perth Glory in the space of five days, leaving Broxham and Co. eight points adrift of Sydney heading into the Big Blue on Australia Day.
The Phoenix ended Victory's unbeaten run last Tuesday with a 3-0 triumph in Wellington, while the Big V gave up a lead in Perth on Saturday to lose 2-1.
While not shying away from the importance of Thursday's fixture at Etihad Stadium, Broxham insisted Victory are still playing decent football with eight wins in their past 11 A-League matches.
"In Wellington we didn't perform to the level that we wanted to. In Perth we had a lot of chances and the performance was generally good, and a few things we could have done a bit better… so it's not a form slump," the veteran told reporters on Tuesday.
Broxham added: "We win on Thursday and everything's forgotten, isn't it."
If Victory lose to Sydney this week the Sky Blues will have just about wrapped up the Premier's Plate with 10 rounds remaining as they will have an 11-point gap over their nearest rivals.
But with two chances remaining to take points off the leaders, Victory clearly remain positive about their chances of finishing top of the table at the end of the regular season.
"[Thursday's Big Blue is] an important game in terms of closing the gap on Sydney," Broxham said.
"They're doing very well. They deserve to be where they are - obviously they've got the points on the board - and it's up to us to close the gap on them and it starts on Thursday."
Assuming Broxham makes his 17th appearance of the season against Sydney, the 29-year-old will move clear of ex-Victory striker Archie Thompson as the club's A-League games record holder with 225 matches to his name.
"It's a big club. There's a lot of great people here, so it's something special that I can be able to do that at a club like this," he said.