DIMI Petratos does not feel added pressure to perform in the absence of injured marquee midfielder Ronny Vargas against Brisbane Roar at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
Nor is the Jets game-breaker out to produce something extraordinary to impress Socceroos coach Graham Arnold ahead of the Asian Cup.
“My role will be the same,” Petratos said. “I just have to do my best and what is best for the team. I just want to win.”
Petratos has made a habit of delivering when the Jets most need it.
The 26-year-old scored a bomb in a 2-1 victory over Brisbane in round three last season, dribbling into space and unleashing a rocket from 25 metres.
It was one of 10 goals, many scored in similarly spectacular fashion, he netted in a breakout campaign.
Petratos, like the Jets, has been slower out of the blocks this season. Although still providing much of the Jets’ drive, he hasn’t had the same impact and has one goal and two assists.
“I just have to keep doing my best and I believe the goals will come, not just from me,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who scores, we just need goals at the moment. I don’t care how they are scored. A goal is a goal.”
Petratos has hit the woodwork at least three times, had shots cleared off the line and been denied by some outstanding keeping.
“That happens,” he said. “It has happened in the past and you just have to deal with it. You have to keep going and stay focused. Keep being persistent and getting into those areas. Sooner or later the goals will go in.”
Petratos’ frustration has been symptomatic of the Jets. Six games have produced five goals and only one win.
“It’s not going exactly the way we wanted it to go, obviously,” Petratos said. “But there are some good signs there. It is as simple as getting an early goal and things will change. We have to stick to the game plan, be positive and just believe in ourselves.”
Vargas, the Jets leading goal-scorer with two, will sit out the match due to a groin strain. Lachlan Jackson (broken nose) is also sidelined, forcing at least two changes from the lacklustre 3-0 loss to Melbourne City.
Brazilian Jair is likely to return from a hip flexor injury at the point of the attack and Ivan Vujica will cover at left back.
Petratos, after being mainly deployed in wider areas, will switch to No.10, where he played much of last season to great effect after a long-term injury to Vargas.
“Ronny is an amazing player and we need everyone to lift,” he said. “He will be back soon and we need him.
“But we have to adjust and the players out there have to have belief in each other and stick together. We are at home and have the crowd behind us.
“We just have to give that little bit extra to get the result and get back to playing entertaining football.”
Arnold will name his squad after the next round for the Socceroos’ Asian Cup defence in January.
“I have said it in the past with other Aussie selection, I just focus on where I am,” he said. “My full focus is on Newcastle, getting results there and doing the best I can to help the team. That is how I got into the Socceroos in the first place. Just hard work.”