Gold Coast United coach Miron Bleiberg took a swipe at the critics who had written off his side's A-League title hopes after they reclaimed top spot with a 1-0 win over Sydney FC on Sunday.
United produced a polished display at the Sydney Football Stadium to move a point clear of Sydney and two ahead of Melbourne Victory with four regular season games to play.
The win put Bleiberg's side into a strong position to challenge for the minor premiership in their maiden season and the coach was keen to make that point.
"Every one of you that wrote in the last two months in any shape or way that it's only two-horse race (between Sydney and Melbourne) don't ask me any questions," the colourful Bleiberg said to the media pack, unprompted, at the start of his post-match press conference.
"Ok I can leave then ... but seriously, if you think that was the case, I'm upset."
Gold Coast moved to 40 points with the win, one ahead of Sydney and two ahead of Melbourne, though the Victory have an extra game in hand on the pair.
Having watched Gold Coast's third win over Sydney in three matches this season, Bleiberg said he could not wait for another shot at the Victory, who also sent a statement about their title ambitions with a 6-2 thumping of Perth at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.
United host Melbourne in a fortnight in what will be a re-match of a fiery encounter in September last year which Melbourne won 3-2 in controversial circumstances.
"I just can't wait for the game against Melbourne whenever it comes ... I believe that if we beat Melbourne the sky's the limit," Bleiberg said.
Newcastle remain the only other side in with a slim hope of the minor premiership after a 2-0 win over Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night moved them to 34 points.
Wellington (31) are fifth following their 3-0 thrashing of North Queensland at Westpac Stadium on Friday night while the Glory (27) are sixth but just hanging on to the last finals position.
Just below them on 26 are the Central Coast, who drew 1-1 with Adelaide on Friday night, as well as the fading Roar.
The Fury are still in contention on 25, but last-placed Adelaide (23) badly need a win when they host Perth on Tuesday night to save their season.