Melbourne Victory midfielder Terry Antonis believes Saturday night’s performance will hold the team in good stead moving forward, with the grit and resilience on display certain to be required during AFC Champions League and Hyundai A-League finals campaigns.
“Obviously it’s disappointing to go a man down so early in the game, but everyone stuck together and was determined to get something out of the game.” Antonis said Tuesday.
“[But] that’s what you want from the boys, everyone being together and there for one another when times get tough.
“We’ve just got to keep going and believe in ourselves.”
Antonis has been in career-best form this season, starting every one of the 19 matches in which he was eligible to play and missing just once through suspension.
And while he puts his own form down to good old-fashioned hard work, he knows plenty more is required with midfield reinforcements at the ready.
“There’s a lot of [reasons for good form]. I think I’ve been doing alright, but I’ve got to keep going, working on my fitness, training hard and preparing well for games.
“For the boss and for the team it’s good to have a lot of players fit, at 100% and doing well. It’s good for competition and places in the team.
“[Ultimately] it’s up to the boss and what he thinks, but for me when you’ve got competition for spots it’s good [on game day] and in training.”
This weekend pits Antonis and his Victory teammates against Newcastle Jets, a team they have recorded three narrow one-goal victories in a row – one of which was the 2017/18 Championship decider – and Kevin Muscat’s number 8 has scored in the last two.
“Newcastle is always a difficult team to play against. It’s going to be a difficult game, they’re trying to get into the top six, but that doesn’t bother us.
“We’re still going for top place and we need to keep going… Perth are a few points in front, but we’ve just got to keep putting pressure on them.
“[Finishing] first or second spot helps a lot in the finals. We’ll see what happens [but] we don’t want to talk about it too much.
“We’ll just focus on each game, take it in and give 100%”