After more than a month of approaching their A-League games "like grand finals" captain Terry McFlynn insists it's really now a case of do-or-die for Sydney FC's finals hopes.
The Sky Blues are likely to miss the finals for a second straight year after wasting a golden opportunity to move equal fourth in Saturday night's 1-0 loss at home to Wellington.
Instead the defeat, which came despite Sydney dominating heavily in possession and chances, means Vitezslav Lavicka's side drop out of the six with four tough regular season games remaining.
Lavicka first proclaimed every game would be like a grand final ahead of their clash with Gold Coast in late January.
Of the six games since, Sydney have lost two and drawn one but McFlynn believes there is no more room for error ahead of next Saturday's clash at top-of-the-table Central Coast.
"We've got four games to go, we have to win all four," McFlynn said.
"We've got to put (the Wellington loss) to bed, forget about it as much as we can and concentrate on the game to Central Coast away to give us any chance of getting to the finals at all."
The Mariners match forms part of a tough run home for Sydney, who then face Melbourne Victory (home), Melbourne Heart (away) and Newcastle (home).
McFlynn admitted it was hard to look at the positives from the loss to the Phoenix but there was no reason Sydney could not win all the coming games.
"There's been times in the season when we've played worse than (the Phoenix los) and come away with a win," McFlynn said.
"We've played similar to that and got draws, not get beaten, but I think what everyone's seen over the course of this season is the courage the boys have got.
"There's no better challenge than going to play top of the league next week at Central Coast and we've just got to start winning games."
The Phoenix's win puts them in a strong position to reach a third straight finals series, moving back into third spot five points behind second-placed Brisbane Roar.
Their run home is not easy though, facing Gold Coast (home), Melbourne Heart (away), Melbourne Victory (away) and Central Coast (home).
Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert said it was "anybody's guess" if Sydney could still make the playoffs but tipped the battle to go down to the final round.
"It's a really good competition and it's going to go down to the wire," Herbert said.
"We've given ourselves a little bit of a shot now.
"It helps but you can't take your foot off the pedal or it will come back to bite you."