Melbourne Victory can guarantee themselves a finals A-League Women's berth with a draw against Canberra United on Friday, but coach Jeff Hopkins is demanding a win.
The word 'draw' has been a dirty word at Melbourne Victory this week as they attempt to secure an A-League Women finals berth.
Melbourne Victory - Canberra United
- Melbourne Victory meet Canberra United on Friday evening.
- A draw could put their finals placing jeopardy, depending on the Glory-Phoenix result.
- Victory are currently fourth in the ladder, two points ahead of fifth placed Glory.
More A-League Women's news can be found on The Women's Game.
A four-match winless run means Victory's finals hopes will be decided in a thrilling final round.
Victory just need a draw against Canberra United at AAMI Park on Friday in order to secure fourth spot.
But if they lose, then Perth Glory can overtake them with a win over last-placed Wellington Phoenix.
Both of those games will be played concurrently, adding to the intrigue of the final-round jigsaw puzzle.
Although a draw will be enough for Victory, coach Jeff Hopkins is demanding nothing less than a win.
"I don't think anyone has mentioned drawing the game. We're talking about going to win the game," Hopkins said.
"That's what we're preparing to do. We've got a few things to prove to ourselves and to a few other people as well.
"(I keep the players focused) by being really positive and not mentioning the draw. We've just talked about winning the game, that's all we've talked about. That's our focus."
A top-two berth was still on the cards for Victory when they thrashed Western Sydney 5-0 on February 12 and followed it up with a 2-2 draw against ladder leaders Sydney four days later.
But a 2-0 loss to Glory, a 2-2 draw with Canberra, and a 3-0 loss to Adelaide have left Victory fighting for their finals survival.
Hopkins is confident Victory will regain their mojo on Friday night.
"We're going to be a very different team," Hopkins said.
"I'm very, very confident. We don't like people writing us off. We don't like people talking about us negatively.
"We put the performances in over the last few weeks, and we knew we were lacking a bit of energy.
"I'm really confident people are going to see the real Melbourne Victory when we come out tomorrow night."
Canberra were winless and bottom of the ladder a few weeks ago, but they have since beaten the Wanderers 5-0, drawn with Victory 2-2, and beaten Newcastle 3-0.
Victory will be boosted by the return of New Zealand international Claudia Bunge, while forward Melina Ayres is set to get game time off the bench after recovering from a hamstring injury.
The full A-League Women's schedule can be found using this link.