Soccer-Disappointment at draw a positive sign, says Victory's Popovic
Melbourne Victory's Tony Popovic said his players' deflated response to being held to a late 1-1 draw by Adelaide United in Australia's A-League on Saturday underlines the progress made since he took over as head coach.
Melbourne Victory's Tony Popovic said his players' deflated response to being held to a late 1-1 draw by Adelaide United in Australia's A-League on Saturday underlines the progress made since he took over as head coach. Adelaide's Craig Goodwin scored a minute into injury time to cancel out a Nick D'Agostino strike that flew into the top corner seven minutes earlier to put Melbourne in front.
The draw denied Victory a fifth win in the first seven league games in a coronavirus-affected season, as Popovic's side moved one point clear of Macarthur FC at the top of the A-League standings. "The players are a bit disappointed conceding late, which is probably a good sign of where we're heading that we get disappointed with a draw now," Popovic told a news conference after the match.
"Hopefully we can take that disappointment into the next game and keep building our performances, and for the next match we can get the three points." The highly rated Popovic, who led Western Sydney Wanderers to the Asian Champions League title in 2014, has overseen a major turnaround in fortunes since being appointed in June.
Victory were bottom of the standings last season after a 10th-place finish the campaign before, with the club going through four coaches in the two years before Popovic's arrival. The former Crystal Palace defender has lifted the four-time champions but accepts that in a season already severely hit by the pandemic, that his team have to be more ruthless.
"A lot's been happening over the last week, it's not just the last few days," said Popovic. "We have some injuries, we have some players that are following the COVID protocols so we have a large number of players unavailable, but I don't want to focus on that.
"We played the game tonight, we played at home, I thought we had a good performance. We pressed well, we played well, we just didn't take advantage of those good moments that we had to get the lead when I thought we should've."