Tim Cahill says the Hyundai A-League’s Summer of Football is the perfect stage for Melbourne City to lay a platform for their title push in what he terms the "second phase" of the season.
Saturday night’s defeat to Melbourne rivals Victory in a pulsating Melbourne Christmas Derby has seen City drop to fourth on the ladder and nine points behind the unbeaten Sky Blues.
It led to Sydney FC skipper Alex Brosque claiming his side has a psychological advantage over the chasing pack, declaring the Sky Blues could be ‘running away with the title’.
While Cahill admits Sydney’s position means they can afford to be bullish, he says there’s a long way to and believes City are ready to go to the next level.
“They're [Sydney FC] out in front and they deserve to be out in front,” Cahill said at the launch of the Hyundai A-League's Summer of Football on Monday.
“There's a lot of football left and the second phase for Melbourne City we will be totally focused on picking up a lot of points in the next 10 games.
“You look at the start of the season and what you want to win and where you want to be and 11 games in you want to be as high as possible.
“We were sitting second until that loss [to Melbourne Victory on Saturday night] and now we’re fourth with results [over the weekend] and also a piece of really important silverware.
"You've got to level it out and to win the A-League, from what I've seen in the past, you have to win two thirds of the season. So it's going to be a big second phase for us.
“You’ve just got to measure out the season, it’s going to be a long season for a lot of clubs, especially the ones at the top.”
City’s Summer of Football starts when they host Perth Glory at AAMI Park on December 27 before a trip to Gosford to play the Mariners on New Year’s Eve.
It’s the beginning of what will be a huge 2017 for Cahill, who also has some big FIFA World Cup qualifiers with the Caltex Socceroos as well as June’s Confederations Cup.
Despite missing the last qualifier against Thailand, Australia’s greatest-ever goal-scorer is still a crucial player for the national team.
While excited about what’s to come with the Caltex Socceroos in the coming months, Cahill insists his current focus is purely on his domestic form.
"My target now is the next 10 games for Melbourne City. It's really important for us now, the next phase of our development," Cahill said.
"You see the style of football we're playing and also how we're improving…the formations we can change and adapt to games - there's always progression.
"For me personally, hopefully people can see the effort I'm putting in to stay on the pitch, to be involved in the A-League as much as possible and fully commit to being as fresh and competitive as possible and hopefully get the results we need to hopefully win silverware again.”
Cahill was one of five players at Maroubra Beach on Monday to launch the Hyundai A-League’s Summer of Football which feature 10 games in 11 days over the festive period.
“Everyone talks about how amazing the A-League has been, I think we can all agree it’s been a great start,” Cahill said.
“You look at the numbers for viewings, you look at also the excitement of the games.“Now we’ve just got to jump on the bandwagon in making this one of the top sports in our country. Let’s start transitioning the numbers to the kids that play in grassroots into becoming supporters and filling out stadiums up.”