Newcastle Jets coach Arthur Papas admits nothing but wins will now suffice in his side’s push for the A-League Men finals after they suffered a dramatic 2-1 loss to Melbourne Victory on Saturday.
After Francesco Margiotta’s stoppage-time winner broke the deadlock, ninth-placed Jets are now seven points adrift of the top six with five games remaining.
Papas admits the Jets’ margin for error in their quest to play finals for the first time since 2017-18 has now disappeared.
“You’ll need to win all five to have a chance, that’s even to have a chance still,” he said.
“So that’s what it’s going to have to be and if not, we’re going to have to do our best to the end of the season regardless.”
While they left it late, Victory has now won four of their last five games and stretched their club-record unbeaten run to 11.
Having commenced that run locked in a dogfight for the top six, they now sit third on the table and just three points behind second-placed Western United — having both played 22 games.
Further, should they be able to win games against Macarthur and Brisbane, they will move within two points of league leaders Melbourne City, who have played 24 games.
“Everyone would love to hear us say we can win the Premiership if we win all our games, but it’s hard enough to win a game on a weekly basis… or in our case every three days,” Victory coach Tony Popovic said.
“It’s not easy. No one gives you points here.”
After the first half became an arm wrestle in the wake of Victory striker Nick D’Agostino’s sixth-minute opener, Saturday’s contest opened up in the second stanza.
Both sides hit the bar on two separate occasions inside the opening six minutes of the half before Savvas Siatravanis’s first Jets goal tied things up in the 65th.
But with both teams searching for a late winner it was Victory that was on the right side of a stirring conclusion.
“We don’t have the time (to think about heartbreak),” Papas said.
“We haven’t had the time to think about many games because before you know it you’re onto the next one.
“There will be a sleepless night tonight, which is the usual, and tomorrow the main thing is to pick (the squad) up.”