Victory driven by Reds alert

Veteran Melbourne Victory midfielder Tom Pondeljak has revealed that the embarrassment of the 4-1 defeat to Adelaide United at AAMI Park in early January has become a driving force behind the team's late-season resurgence.

Veteran Melbourne Victory midfielder Tom Pondeljak has revealed that the embarrassment of the 4-1 defeat to Adelaide United at AAMI Park in early January has become a driving force behind the team's late-season resurgence.

Pondeljak said the circumstances of that defeat, where Melbourne were completely outplayed and crashed to their first loss against Adelaide in over three years, combined with the loss of skipper Kevin Muscat to a hefty suspension in the game against Heart, had galvanised the playing group, with the club now unbeaten in its past five games.

"Going down to Adelaide at home in that manner was a little bit embarrassing. It was a mark that we didn't want to have on ourselves. Then we lost Kev (Muscat) out of the squad, I think it just galvanised the team," he said.

"We realised that we are on par with these teams and we were a little bit embarrassed about that result against Adelaide and we just drew a line in the sand, we have to stick together as a team, and as a club, because no-one else is going to help us apart form ourselves. It-s on our shoulders to try and make something happen this year. And the last few weeks have proven that."

Defender Matthew Kemp agreed that the circumstances of that Adelaide defeat had stung the group, but said revenge was not a factor ahead of Friday night's clash against the Reds at Adelaide Oval.

"I don't think we need any more motivation to play Adelaide than we ever do. It-s a game I always love playing and we'll be up for it. I guess that match will be in the back of our minds. Regardless of what has happened in the past, we want to beat them every time we play them," he said.

While Victory's final position on the table is unlikely to be altered regardless of Friday's result, Kemp said a positive performance is crucial to his side's hopes of performing well in the finals.

"It will set us up for the finals. You don't want to head into the finals after a loss. We'll be treating it as the first of our finals games, we-ll be going out there to win and keep our momentum going," he said.

"We don-t want to let that momentum we-ve had in the last few weeks drop off the game before the finals. We want to keep that ticking over and keep the winning ways going."

Kemp, who along with Pondeljak and Matt Foschini recently signed new deals, said that despite the fact Victory will have to win four away games on the trot to regain the championship, there is a growing confidence among the players that they can contend for the title, especially considering they are the only team to defeat premiers Brisbane this season.

"I think in the last few weeks we are starting to get it together. We are improving every game. I don't think l there's any reason we can-t. We-ve got good finals history. The boys are confident that if we make the finals, we-ve got the experience and we-ve got the player who can perform on that big level," he said.