ALTHOUGH his team has scored only six goals all season, Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic reckons Sunday night’s 1-0 win over Brisbane Roar might be the turning point for their attacking woes.
The result has hoisted the Wanderers into the top six and Popovic believes his side has every chance of staying there if they can convert their chances more often.
”We’ve been rewarded, finally, for some of the great football we’ve been playing,” he said. ”We’ve created a lot of opportunities – especially shots on goal – in the games up to date without any reward. Today I felt we got some reward for some good play and I’m really pleased for the players.”
Popovic said ”there wasn’t any panic” among the coaching staff as time ticked away, adding he always believed his team could manufacture a winner, which they did when Shinji Ono tucked home a late penalty.
”I’m just encouraged that we can play that way,” he said. ”We can make a run that way, we can build up in that fashion, we can create an opportunity. As long as you keep seeing that, you don’t lose belief.”
Incredibly, their six goals in 10 matches has been good enough to get them to fourth – though such is the logjam below, they are only three points clear of bottom-placed Sydney.
”Being in the six is nice,” Popovic said. ”But as you see in this league, it changes on a week-to-week basis … the challenge for us is to become more consistent in our results and today was a good start.”
Croatian Dino Kresinger copped plenty of sledging from the sidelines when Popovic brought him on as a substitute but the coach was delighted to see the striker earn the penalty that decided the game.
”You get your visa players here and they all take time to adapt, there’s no doubt about that, and some longer than others. With Dino, it’s taken a bit of time, but if we didn’t have belief in him, we wouldn’t have put him on,” Popovic said.
”Fans have their views – I didn’t even notice whether it was a clap or a boo – but I’ve got no idea about that stuff. He came on and he did a good job. He won the penalty and he showed some good signs and it was great to see him play with confidence.”
Roar coach Rado Vidosic said once his team got to grips with the Wanderers’ set-up, they should have taken all the points.
”In the first half it was a little bit hard – we didn’t adjust to their long balls and [playing] against the wind but in the second half I think we controlled the game,” he said. ”When you look at the clear-cut chances, we probably had more. We’ve lost the points we did not deserve to lose.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.