City can learn from Victory

But Griffiths believes that it is City’s form in two matches, which many will count as disappointing results, that should give them self belief.

”I know we didn’t win them, but we recently played the top two teams in the league [Glory and at the time Victory] and drew with them when we should have beaten them. That does give us a reason to believe that if we play them in finals we shouldn’t have anything to fear.”

City let slip a one-goal lead when they played 10-man Victory in February, drawing 1-1, but much more galling, Griffiths admits, was their draw with Glory.

”We had done the hard work and got 2-0 up and there were less than 10 minutes to go. It was very disappointing to concede two and draw 2-2, but if you look back at it we could take plenty from the fact that we were winning for most of the game against the team that has set the standard all season long,” he said.

”When you haven’t won for a while it does affect your mentality and it changes.


”When we sat back their confidence started to climb and when we conceded one goal they got more confident. It’s a lesson to learn.

”But looking back to those two matches, on any other day we would have taken six points, not two, beaten the top teams and everyone would be saying we were going very well. Sometimes it’s just about how things are looked at.”

There has been plenty of speculation about the future of coach Warren Joyce, whose contract expires at the end of the season.

There is provision for an extension, but the consensus seems to be that the Englishman would, at the least, have to get his side qualified for the Asian Champions League to stand much chance of that being exercised.

City sit sixth and are no certainties to even make the finals if they continue to stutter, and seventh-placed Newcastle keep winning games.

”Everyone on the training ground is preparing and training hard as if he is going to be the manager going forward and he is taking training and acting as if he will be in charge next season so we are all focussing on what’s needed now, not in six months’ time,” Griffiths said.

”Players have to perform at their best whoever is in charge anyway. Sometimes you have to play for a new contract, or to win the league, or to avoid relegation or because you like the manager.

”We are four points ahead of Newcastle and I feel we are ready to turn things round and hit form. I would rather be in our position, with the points on the board, than in Newcastle’s, where you are continually chasing.”

Michael Lynch is The Age’s chief soccer reporter and also reports on motor sport and horseracing

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