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United try to get their head in the game

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Fleta Page

Head strong ... Canberra's German import Ariane Hingst.

Head strong ... Canberra's German import Ariane Hingst. Photo: Getty Images

Canberra United players have been called in for individual meetings this week as coach Jitka Klimkova tries to tackls the team's confidence issues and keep its W-league title defence alive.

Undefeated last season, United has recorded three losses in the past month by conceding a goal in the final minute.

With only three matches remaining in the season, including away games against the top two teams, Perth and Brisbane, United's season hangs in the balance as they struggle to cling to their place in the top four.

Klimkova felt there was no need to bring in a sport psychologist, instead scheduling one-on-one sessions with her players on Tuesday and Wednesday to try to find answers ahead of Saturday's game against the Glory.

''Psychologically I think it's not an easy [time] for us, but we know we can't give up and we are not going to give up, we will fight to the end of the season,'' she said.

''This can be helpful just to talk to the girls individually … know how they feel and just know maybe what is going on not just on the field, but off the field. This can be good for us to know and discuss with the girls.

''Honestly, I don't think we would invite someone else (a psychologist) who doesn't know our team so well.

''The coach should be the good psychologists too, so that's why we want to talk to each of them … not just team tactics, [about] the individual stuff too,'' she said. Having analysed the video of United's 2-1 loss to Melbourne on Saturday, Klimkova said it was not just concentration the team needed to work on, but remaining calm in the box and converting their chances.

''We had better possession, we had nine chances, they had probably four chances … we should win this game. We shouldn't lose, we shouldn't tie, we should win. The problem was we didn't finish our big chances, and that's what we have to focus on.

''It has to be in our minds, it has to be in our heads that we are a strong team, we can win against everyone and we have to still believe that we can beat Perth, we can beat Western Sydney, we can beat Brisbane and we can be in the top four, where we belong.''

The Melbourne game took a physical toll, with Sally Shipard and Caitlin Munoz limping off in the second half.

While Munoz received a cork in a heavy clash with Swedish import Petra Larsson, Shipard is in doubt for the Perth trip as she continues to battle her way back from off-season knee surgery.

The midfielder had fluid drained from her knee on Tuesday and will go for an MRI scan to see whether she did any damage to it in the game when she felt it ''clunk'' while changing direction.

Shipard has been on a heavily reduced training load to be ready for games, a circumstance she admits has had an effect on her game.

''I feel a bit behind the eight ball in terms of my touch and my pace to keep up with the game,'' she said.

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