Roy Krishna is having the season of his life — and its genesis was a frank pre-season chat with coach Mark Rudan.
At the age of 31, the Wellington Phoenix winger is in career best form.
He's already found the net 11 times in this campaign, and on course to challenge Jeremy Brockie's single season record for the club (16 in 2012-2013).
Earlier this year Krishna became the first player in A-League history to score two goals in three consecutive games, and he has built a solid partnership with David Williams.
He'll be a local hero as he steps out onto Eden Park tonight against Melbourne Victory, after all the years based in Auckland as a national league player with Waitakere United.
The catalyst for his form, after a difficult 2017-2018 season where he managed just four goals, was a conversation with Rudan soon after the Australian had arrived in Wellington.
"He was pretty honest," said Krishna. "He told me where my bar was, and where it should be and it was much higher. He gave me a target — I'm not going to say what it was — but it was high. He hadn't even met me but he believed so much about what I could achieve, which gave me a lot of confidence."
Krishna then endured the hardest pre-season of his career, and found Rudan constantly changing the boundaries.
"He has pushed me a lot this season ... and is still pushing me," said Krishna.
Krishna passed Paul Ifill's all time Phoenix goal haul (33) a few months ago, and with 43 goals is on course to set marks that may never be eclipsed.
He also has 23 career assists, only matched by former All Whites winger Leo Bertos.
Krishna retains the pace and sharpness that has always characterised his game, but has elevated other areas.
"Every year is a challenge, every year the league is getting better," said Krishna. "You can't have the same play. You have to learn new ideas, new challenges because defenders know you more every season.
"I had my speed, which has always been a key weapon for me, but getting stronger was [important]. I was getting bounced off the ball. That's what I worked on at the start of the season and credit goes to the coaching staff, the physio and the trainer."
Assistant coach Chris Greenacre has helped with his composure in front of goal, while his ability to bring teammates into play has also improved.
However, Krishna is temporarily stepping away from penalty responsibilities, after a couple of misses this season, including a late failure in the 1-1 draw against the Jets.
"I've been practicing every day and I will still do it," said Krishna. "The stats say I am half-half (7/14), but that doesn't mean I will stop taking penalties. Obviously it means right now I am probably not [going to] because I missed a few so I can't be greedy in taking another one.
"So if someone is feeling good and says 'right, I'll take it,' then he'll take it. I cost points [last week] and I was really angry at myself. It's part of football and if someone is feeling good, they can take it."