Warren Joyce responsible for Melbourne City's new mental edge - Luke Brattan
A new-found mental edge has Melbourne City poised to end their A-League Grand Final drought when they face Newcastle Jets on Friday.
That's the feeling from Luke Brattan, who sees demonstrable improvement in City under new coach Warren Joyce.
The Englishman came to the expansion club to harden up their training and discipline after the John van 't Schip era ended last season.
Brattan says the meticulous Joyce has made his mark and it's showing in their results.
"You look at a few games this year where, say we've gone down to 10 men or there's an early goal and the opposition have their spell," he said.
"Last year or in previous years at City, they were the games we would have lost.
"Warren has come in and mentally and physically he's got us in a good spot. We grind out results when we need to.
"Physically we can do that and mentally as a group we're very solid as well."
City were efficacious in their 2-0 dismissal of Brisbane Roar on Friday night in their elimination final, denying John Aloisi's side a single shot on target.
After their fourth win in five, Brattan says City are a team hitting form at the right time.
"The last two months we've been playing really good football," he said.
"We're moving the ball, we're in the right positions, we're creating an awful lot of chances that we weren't at the start and in the rough patch in the middle [of the season].
"When we pass the ball around with intent and keep the intensity high, then we create a lot of chances.
"That's all good coming into finals."
Whichever team wins Friday night's match-up will end a long wait for a Grand Final, with the Jets not making a championship decider since winning it in 2008 and City having never made it.
Despite Newcastle's second-placed finish, City won on their two trips to the Hunter this season.
Brattan said given City's recent results they would be "stupid to change" their possession-based style, even on the road.
"We'll look at the tapes and see where we can exploit them," he said.
"They like to play on the counter so we've got to nullify that. Set up properly when we have the ball in their final third. We did that [against Brisbane]."