Ahead of a titanic A-League derby on Friday, Melbourne Victory forward James Troisi has delivered an impassioned defence of the form of his club and himself, claiming they are both victims of tall poppy syndrome.
Troisi has been a target of his own fans booing him this season as Victory have backed up last year's grand final with indifferent results.
Victory have fallen further behind pacesetters Sydney FC but at least jumped to fourth by defeating Adelaide United 3-0 on the weekend.
With captain Carl Valeri absent against the Reds, Troisi was handed the club's armband.
He responded with a fine showing which included a major role in the opening goal.
"It's the first time I've ever captained any team," Troisi told AAP.
"The boss called me before the game and told me he wants me to wear it. It was an honour.
"It's good that he's seeing me as a role model and a leader and wanted to give me that responsibility. It's a proud moment and I went out there and did the business."
The 29-year-old Socceroo believes his form merits brighter praise this season.
"It's funny how the media, people and critics, analyse things. They watch the games but they might not watch them too well," he said.
"You can have a great game but if you lose, you're playing s**t. That's the view in this league.
"I believe I've had a good season doing very similar things to last season ... I'm still creating goals and chances.
"Whether it's scored or not, offside or not, at the end of the day I'm doing my job by putting the ball there.
"But people don't see that. They just see the scores and results."
Troisi backed Victory, which boasts the most members and highest attendances in the league, to continue their revival against City on Friday.
A win would see Victory close to within a point of third-placed City.
Troisi expects that to be followed with another Socceroos call-up under new boss Bert van Marwijk.
"I haven't spoken to him personally, I don't think anyone has," Troisi said.
"The gaffer was there against Newcastle. Unfortunately we lost but I had a good game ... I had some really good feedback from him.
"He definitely likes me so I just keep doing my thing."
Australian Associated Press