Interim coach Rado Vidosic says Melbourne City are reaping the rewards of playing with freedom after Marco Tilio starred in a 4-0 dismantling of reigning champions Western United.
Tilio opened the scoring on Saturday with a terrific solo effort in the ninth minute with Leo Lacroix's disastrous own goal, his third of the season, three minutes later putting City in full control.
The Socceroos youngster teed up Jamie Maclaren for City's third in the 24th minute with Andrew Nabbout adding another in the 84th at AAMI Park.
"The last few weeks he (Tilio) has been fantastic," Vidosic told reporters.
"He won a penalty for us in Wellington and he set up another header for us and today a goal and assist. He's been just amazing.
"Andy comes on and he contributes, Jamie Maclaren scores again, we are very blessed to have those forwards and they're all firing on all cylinders. It's just amazing at the moment."
Maclaren has now scored in a record 10th consecutive national league game and has 13 goals for the season.
City sit six points clear of second-placed Central Coast with a game in hand and appear destined to claim a third straight premiership.
"Freedom is one word," Vidosic said.
"We've been giving them more autonomy to make decisions on the park and I think they've been rewarding us with their performances and their decisions."
Meanwhile, United are 10th and are dealing with Lacroix's dramatic drop-off from arguably the league's best defender last season to a shadow of his former self, while left-back Ben Garuccio (calf) hobbled off in the 60th minute.
The game exploded when Tilio pounced on a loose Connor Pain pass inside his own half, burst down the right wing, cut inside Lacroix and coolly finished into the bottom corner.
Then disaster struck.
Tomoki Imai slipped while attempting to receive a wayward Jamie Young pass and Mathew Leckie pounced, sliding the ball across goal before Lacroix, in attempting to cut out the pass, turned it into his own net.
"We made two bad errors that cost us," United coach John Aloisi told reporters.
"We did that in the first game against them and we didn't learn our lesson. Two bad errors.
"We live with them for the first 20-25 minutes, I think we're going to be well and truly in that game.
"Give credit to them because they're a top side, when we made our mistakes, they punished us, when we pressed them on the ball in areas, we didn't punish them in the first half ... we lost the game those first 10 minutes."
City made it 3-0 when Leckie found Tilio with a wonderful cross-field ball and the winger squared it to Maclaren, who took a touch then drilled it into the bottom corner.
Richard van der Venne slipped through Nabbout who chipped Young to round out the victory.