Melbourne Victory "terrify teams" at their best, according to coach Kevin Muscat, but he insists the entire squad knows they can do better than their 2-1 win over Adelaide United might suggest.
For the second week in a row, Victory cruised to a two-goal lead at the break before stuttering in the second half and conceding late goals.
While Saturday night's triumph - the Big V's sixth in a row in all competitions - took Muscat's men to the top of the A-League, the 42-year-old remained disappointed Victory had failed to meet his pre-match demands of more control and more ruthlessness.
"When everything's even, when everything's equal, we're very good," Muscat said.
"We're dangerous and we terrify teams.
"Then when a team's got nothing to lose - i.e. when they're 2-0 down - they throw caution to the wind and we've just got to be smarter.
"If we are better in how we take care of position, we'll have a much easier night physically than we end up doing."
Muscat claimed Victory let Adelaide back into the contest in the second half, with Marcelo Carrusca eventually giving the Reds something for their greater possession by converting an 87th-minute penalty.
It has been a busy season for Victory so far with their successful FFA Cup run but Muscat, while aware of the excuses, was not interested in them.
"I'm not saying we were bad, by any stretch of the imagination... and I wouldn't be saying 'we want to better' if I knew we couldn't," he said.
"The group knows they're better than that, we know we're better than that, so that's why I'll keep pushing."
Muscat added: "Playing football at a good level is not easy."
Victory defender Mathieu Delpierre was substituted at half-time and Muscat revealed the veteran had suffered a cramp in his hamstring.