Melbourne City coach John van 't Schip has urged his side to keep believing they can play a part in this season's A-League finals.
Defeats at Central Coast and Western Sydney harmed City's chances of featuring in the post-season but they climbed back inside the top six with a comfortable 4-0 win over Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on Saturday.
Ex-Newcastle skipper Kew Jaliens, sacked by the Jets in January, opened the scoring for the victors, before Harry Novillo, David Williams and Iain Ramsay got in on the act as City - who have now played three more matches than the seventh-placed Brisbane Roar - moved two points above the champions.
"We all know that Brisbane has two games in hand, and if they win, we have a hard task to get into the play-offs," Van 't Schip told reporters at his post-match media conference.
"We had other thoughts about the first two games this week … [but] of course we still want to keep the pressure on. We're still in. And that's why the pressure today was good. I think for the morale, [it was] very important.
"The message [to the players today] was clear, we still have possibilities. We have to believe in that. As long as we believe, and we get results, it can happen. That was the message and they took it on board and we had a good win."
French winger Novillo was particularly impressive in his home debut, with his goal a deserved reward for a performance full of dynamism and attacking flair.
And Van 't Schip was very pleased with his effort, adding: "He brings something to the team … directness. He is very threatening in his way of playing.
"He has to get used to the team and the league and what's normal in getting free-kicks and not getting free-kicks. He's adapting very well and we are happy that we have him."
Van 't Schip also offered praise to Jaliens, who he said had no ill-feeling towards Newcastle despite his surprise sacking, while he confirmed that forward Josh Kennedy - substituted early in the second half - was taken off after feeling hip tightness.
"We have to just see how he [Kennedy] is tomorrow. Hopefully it's not something that will keep him out long. He felt that he did not want to take any risks," he continued.comments