Seeing Melbourne Victory in eighth position is either refreshing or weird – depending on who you ask.
Refreshing in the sense the side is tasked with a new challenge – very rarely has the competition seen the Victory start a season so poorly – and weird because, well, it is Melbourne Victory after all.
Heading into the new year, the club has conceded a top-two finish is out of reach as they head into the new year – with finishing the top-six the main goal, according to captain Ola Toivonen.
“We’re not looking for top-two or something like that,” he said.
“We’re realistic the most important thing is to get sixth place, so that’s what we’re aiming for at the moment.”
While the Victory skipper shares the view the side’s confidence is down, he is pleased with the team’s attitude despite a poor start to the season.
‘’Confidence comes with results, if you get good results the confidence goes up if we don’t the conf goes down a little bit,” Toivonen said.
“In the build-up, how we move a little bit lacks some confidence, we know it but I [think] the attitude is spot on for all of us.”
The stakes do not get much bigger for the Victory this weekend when they meet Melbourne City in the traditional Christmas derby.
While their first meeting ended in a scoreless draw at Marvel Stadium, their respective seasons since then have been polar opposite.
It was a frustrating opening round for Toivonen – who was well-marked by Harrison Delbridge, with the City defender excited to line-up against the Swedish international after a fiery first encounter.
“It obviously got a bit heated last time,” Delbridge said.
“But definitely looking to keep him to a quiet night and hopefully more of the same as last time.
“He’s one of the best players, he gets the ball on to his feet and might not be running in from behind as much.
“It can be different game-to-game, but for the most part we know what we’re dealing with.”