Dwight Yorke accepts Sydney FC's start to the season has been below expectations, but he remains convinced a fighting spirit within the dressing room will soon turn things around.
Yorke is again likely to be an influential figure in the outcome of tonight's match against a buoyant Queensland Roar which is expected to attract more than 20,000 fans to Suncorp Stadium.
Three goals in three appearances has made it an exemplary start to the Australian career of the Trinidad and Tobago international and former Manchester United striker, but it hasn't translated into results.
"Four points from four games, that's not particularly great," Yorke said. "But the signs are there that we are improving, and there's a fighting spirit, which is important.
"Football is about a bit of luck here and there, and eventually these things even out. It's not what we expected so far, but we all know we can do better.
"From a personal point of view, I feel I'm going extremely well. But it's not just about me. It's about the team, the club, the management, the supporters.
"I have to do my best by scoring goals, and by creating goals for the other players. But we also have to win, and we haven't been able to do enough of that."
Sydney FC coach Pierre Littbarski continues to tinker in an effort to find the best combination, and so far has been reluctant to play his three strikers - Yorke, Sasho Petrovski and David Zdrilic - in the same side.
Yorke's ability as both finisher and creator has raised questions about how he is gelling with the team, but he is quick to downplay speculation.
"That is just rumour," he said. "I'm happy with my teammates, they know what I expect, and we all have to try and raise the bar. I make runs, but that doesn't mean I have to get the ball every time. Sometimes it's to create space for someone else, and I don't have a problem with that."
Yorke, who is also involved in an epic World Cup campaign with his Caribbean nation (he'll miss next month's match against Adelaide United through international duty), believes the A-League's standard is between the "English first and second division".
"It's too early to jump to conclusions," he added. "Everybody was a bit sceptical at the start, but given time it's going to get better and better. No doubt about that."
Sydney skipper Mark Rudan, who misses tonight's match through a slight thigh strain, accepts defensive errors have so far proved costly.
"As defenders we all have to accept the criticism," Rudan said yesterday. "We have been doing things we shouldn't be doing and that's cost us. I've made a couple of blunders, and unfortunately I won't get the chance to rectify that tomorrow night. But overall I think I'm going OK. Don't forget I'm coming back from three months out and I'm yet to get 100 per cent fit. I know I can improve."
Meanwhile, after losing out to Perth Glory for the signature of the old NSL's all-time leading goal scorer, Damian Mori, Central Coast Mariners have decided against going into the transfer market to cover for striker Nick Mrdja, out for another month.