NEWCASTLE Jets coach Carl Robinson expects his players to look at the A-League table.
They will know that Adelaide's 5-3 win over Perth on Thursday night has made their already difficult task of sneaking into the play-offs that little bit tougher.
But what he doesn't want is for the players to be left kicking themselves after not completing their end of the bargain.
Perth and Adelaide occupy fifth and sixth position on 34 points. Perth have three games to play, Adelaide two.
The Jets (28 points) can climb to 34 with wins over Western United on Sunday and Wellington in Sydney on August 13.
"Players naturally will look at the table," Robinson said. "If you are a player who doesn't look at the table, I don't think your mind is in the game. They will know Adelaide are on 34 points and the maximum points we can get is 34 points.
"What we can control is what we do. How we prepare and how we play and how we perform.
"If teams take care of their business, we can't make the play-offs.
"What we need to do - and it's an accountability thing - is focus on us.
"If we win two games and we don't get there, than so be it. If we win two games and get there, than we deserve to get there. If we don't win two games and two games would have got us there, than that won't sit well with me.
"Take Swansea and Notts Forrest in the Championship in England. There was a five-goal difference. One team lost 4-1 at home and the other won 4-1 and there was a six-goal swing in one game. Sometimes in football strange things do happen."
Robinson has focused on the final third this week after the scoreless stalemate against the Mariners in which they dominated everywhere bar the scoreboard.
"The first two thirds of the pitch have been excellent " he said. " The way we play out, the way we build, how we build and why we build. We got into the final third against the Mariners 40 times and out of those 40 times we only completed three or four actions. Clearly that is not good enough. That is the area we have worked on this week.That is where the boys are paid the big bucks to put the ball into the back of the net."
Western United, who are on 30 points and have five games remaining, accounted for Melbourne Victory 2-1 in their first game back from the COVID-19 break last Saturday.
"'They are very organised," Robinson said. "They know how they want to play. They have a set way of playing. They have a set way of defending. They defend certain areas very well and they are hard to break down."
"And they have attacking threats who can cause problems because of the way they play, especially the two wider players Max Burgess and Alessandro Diamanti. We have to be aware of that."
Jets wingback Matt Millar is in doubt with a hamstring issue and Robinson is also tossing up whether to promote Joe Ledley and Dimi Petratos who are working back to full fitness.
"We will give Matty as long as we can," the coach said. He has recovered very well to be honest and is not out of it yet. I have no problem if Jason Hoffman steps in or Makis Petratos. Makis has been playing in that area at training and doing very well. He is a different type of player.
On Ledley and Petratos: "That is the big question. If I say yes, we are probably putting them in and maybe getting an hour under their belts. If it's no it is an impact of 30 or 40 minutes off the bench. That is what I have to decide and whether it is fair on the players who have played two games in three days and performed very well.
"Dimi has the most assists in the league, but two weeks prior to me coming back he had a clean-up knee operation.
"If I put Dimi on the pitch and he is not fit and doesn't perform, people will jump on him and criticise him. I don't think that is fair for Dimi and I don't think it is fair for the other players who have performed well."
** The Newcastle Breakers are holding a reunion at the Queens Wharf Hotel on Saturday from 2pm.
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