Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat reckons his team deserve to lead the Hyundai A-League for the first time this season.
Victory moved ahead of Brisbane Roar on goals scored following their 2-1 triumph over Central Coast Mariners on Thursday, and while the reigning champions may fall down the table over the weekend, Muscat hailed his side's achievement after their fifth game in all competitions in 23 days.
Muscat's men have won all five of those matches and the 42-year-old coach was thrilled with how the core of his team has maintained their high standards.
"We've had to go back to the same well. We've asked Oli [Bozanic] to back up, we've asked Mathieu [Delpierre], Leigh [Broxham]... and we find ourselves in a very good position," he said at his post-match media conference.
"But like what I tell the players, ultimately you get what you deserve. I'm a big believer in that and they've spent every ounce of energy they had tonight and they got what they deserved."
While the likes of Bozanic, Delpierre and Broxham all played again, captain Carl Valeri and marquee striker Besart Berisha were left out against the Mariners.
Muscat revealed that Valeri has been battling a hamstring issue, while he claimed Berisha is simply "tight in certain areas" after so many games packed together.
But Victory's coach reckons both will have every chance of playing against Adelaide United on November 28 after a nine-day turnaround.
With Berisha unavailable, Gui Finkler stepped up on Thursday, scoring twice in three first-half minutes to decide the match, including a delightful free-kick.
After a slow start to the season scoring wise, the Brazilian playmaker has now struck three times in two matches.
Another piece of the puzzle falling into place for Victory.
"Ultimately, we've set ourselves up where [if] you try and distinguish one threat, then all of a sudden another fire will start very, very quickly," Muscat said.
"When Bes is out there he gets a lot of attention and he frees up a lot of people. All of sudden, Kosta's some scintillating form and then Gui gets his opportunity but Gui's been arriving in those moments quite regularly.
"Now he's taking those opportunities and it makes him very difficult to play [against]."