Melbourne City have lost their three biggest games this season but midfielder Josh Brillante denies there is a soft underbelly to the A-League club.
City lost their FFA Cup final to Adelaide and have suffered back-to-back big game losses.
Despite Sydney stretching their lead at the top of the table to nine points, Brillante said City were still in the title race.
“[It’s] definitely not impossible. We’re halfway through the season, they’ve got ACL coming so they have a lot of travel and tough games,” he said.
“And the back part of the year I think comes down to injuries too, which teams can stay the fittest. It’s definitely not over.”
Former Sydney FC midfielder Brillante said there wasn’t an underlying cultural issue when it came to performing in big games.
“No I don’t think it’s a cultural issue. Since being here for the past six months, I think it’s a great culture at the club,” Brillante said.
“But it’s just small little differences in the game which make the difference. Staying focused and not having a mental lapse within the game can be the big differences and that’s what the top teams are good at doing.”
Brillante highlighted the need to eliminate mistakes and avoid late lapses.
“For us mainly it’s just been mental toughness,” he said. “Being able to graft out the 90 minutes all the way through to the end and we haven’t been able to do that so far, so that’s something we need to focus on.”
City will relish a short turnaround to Friday’s clash with Western United and can take heart from their last encounter, when they found a way to win with 10 men.
“I think because we went down to 10 men we showed that little bit extra toughness in desperation, in defending, in attacking and we ended up winning the game,” Brillante said.
“And I think that we need to take that attitude into the games where we have 11 players and not become lazy.”