Victory aim to hit finals with chests out

Given the nature of the A-League finals this season - where a top-two finish is not as critical as in previous years and the chances of winning the title from lower down the ladder are greater - form will, more than ever, be a major determinant of how a team fares.

With sudden-death outcomes in all matches, it's better to have scraped into the finals on the back of some wins and to hit the ground running than to have dominated all season only to lose touch when it really matters.

No one is more aware of this than Melbourne Victory boss Ange Postecoglou, who previously guided the dominant side of the past two seasons, Brisbane, to dual championships.

The Roar were superior to everyone else throughout the regular season on both occasions, but were fortunate to win the grand finals. They came from behind to beat Perth in last year after a fluky triumph over the Mariners in 2011, when they scored two goals in the last three minutes of extra time to force a 2-2 draw and then won a penalty shoot-out.

The lesson is clear. It's better to be on a hot streak in the finals than to have been the best club all season.

Melbourne Victory have at times looked the best team this season, but the table doesn't lie, and they are more likely to finish third or fourth than first or second. But Postecoglou is determined his side will be ready to roll when the play-offs start in a month.

Having ended a three-match losing streak when they torched the Jets 5-0 at AAMI Park last weekend, he is looking forward to a return to his old Brisbane stamping ground on Saturday night.

''The finish line is in sight, and you want to be hitting that finishing tape with your chest out rather than crawling on your knees, and the next few games will give us the ability to do that,'' Postecoglou said on Friday.

This story Victory aim to hit finals with chests out first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.