Melbourne Heart coach John van 't Schip lamented missed opportunities as his side squandered a chance to climb the standings with a 2-2 draw against 10-man Wellington Phoenix.
Despite having a man advantage for more than 60 minutes, Heart could not find the go-ahead goal after twice managing to come from behind.
Van 't Schip believes it is now 'difficult' for Heart to make the finals after the result which sees his side six points and significant goal difference behind sixth-placed Adelaide United.
"In the back of our mind we know that we still can (make finals) and we want to be there," van 't Schip said.
"Mathematically we are still in the race but it's going to be very difficult.
"In the end with all the ball possession and the opportunities that we created or at least near to create, we should have got the three points.
"We didn't outplay them good enough. If you create chance after chance after chance, in the end you will score.
"The quality was not there to finish it off."
The Dutch coach implored his players to stay positive and finish the season off strongly - even if finals eventually become out of the question.
"Coming from that far (behind) is already a big compliment for the boys," van 't Schip said.
"Today we fought and we showed a lot of skills and attacking football.
"The energy is still there, there was some good play, there was some good chances - we have to keep fighting to the end to finish in a very good way.
"If we can get in to the finals that will be the best way and if we don't get into the finals then there is a lot of other things we can play for and that's why we should keep on going."
Heart's remaining four matches comprise of battles against teams in the top six as they take on Central Coast (home), Brisbane Roar (away), Adelaide United (away) and Western Sydney (home).