Thompson back in focus

Melbourne striker Archie Thompson has admitted his desperation to be part of Australia's World Cup campaign in South Africa next year has affected his early-season form and that he has been forced to re-evaluate his goals after the first three games.

Melbourne striker Archie Thompson has admitted his desperation to be part of Australia's World Cup campaign in South Africa next year has affected his early-season form and that he has been forced to re-evaluate his goals after the first three games.

Thompson, 30, is as fit as he has been in his time at Melbourne Victory after a strong pre-season and he said before the first game that he was desperate to state his case for Pim Verbeek's 23-man Qantas Socceroos squad for South Africa.

But after taking three matches to get off the mark in terms of scoring, Thompson said on Tuesday that he has had to re-focus his goals in the short-term.

"I think it was just, personally, I was putting too much pressure on myself, I felt. Instead of going out there and enjoying myself like I usually do, I was caught up in the World Cup hype and everything like that and I forgot about the smile on the face," he said.

"I know when I'm playing good when I do have a smile on my face. I was just happy to get one in the back of the net and hopefully that will start my season off."

His 45th-minute goal against North Queensland in Townsville on Saturday could prove an important turning point for Melbourne's marquee man. As might the discussion he had with his wife Emmy last week.

"I think my wife checked me, body-checked me in the hallway at home. Said 'snap out of it'. I've just been concentrating too much on the things that are in the future and I have no control over. I have to worry about the present, and that's what I'm trying to do. It's about getting back to enjoying football," he said.

"You like to start off well. I haven't had that many opportunities the first two games, and suddenly, the floodgates opened and I'm happy to have one."

A typically-honest Thompson said he wasn't looking forward to this week's trip to Perth, as it's not a city where he has a lot of fond footballing memories.

"I've always hated travelling to Perth. Back in the NSL days I hated travelling there. We've got a good enough squad to go over there and compete well. It's a long trip, it's daunting, the weather can be a factor," he said.

"I think I've got one goal over there, that's the reason why I don't like going there. It was good to get the score on the weekend and after you get one, the confidence starts to come back and it's a little bit easier."

Thompson watched on TV as Perth claimed its first points of the season with a 2-0 home win against Newcastle last weekend. He rates them as a much improved side on previous campaigns and knows it will be a tough task.

"They had a great win on the weekend. They've got some great players. More stability at the back. They're good in midfield. They've got some quality up front. I think this Perth side is the best Perth side we've had in the A-League," he said.

Melbourne is looking to break a near three-year winning hoodoo at ME Bank Stadium having lost there twice last season, and once the season before. The Victory have conceded 10 goals in their past three games at the venue.