Western Sydney Wanderers boss Tony Popovic says his in-form side will get a true test of their title credentials when champions Melbourne Victory come to Wanderland next Saturday night.
The Wanderers continued their stunning winning streak on Saturday night, making it six victories in a row by defeating Brisbane Roar 2-1 at Pirtek Stadium.
That result, coupled with Victory’s shock loss in Wellington, means the Wanderers are back on top of the ladder for the first time in over two years.
It sets up a tantalising clash between the league’s top-two in Sydney next weekend.
“We’re on a fantastic run and we came through a very difficult game tonight,” a delighted Popovic said afterwards.
“But we know next week will be difficult. They are the champions, they are the benchmark.
“We want to test ourselves next week and hopefully we can have another magical moment and walk off victorious again.”
The magical moment Popovic is referring to was delivered by Mitch Nichols against Roar, scoring a stunning winner with just 11 minutes left.
Receiving the ball with his back to goal to the left of the box, Nichols turned Jack Hingert before curling an unstoppable shot into the far, top corner.
“A goal like that is worthy of winning any game so we’re pleased,” Popovic said of the exceptional winner.
“It was a real tough tight battle, you always felt something special would be needed. I’m delighted it came from us.
“He [Nichols] wasn’t great tonight, he had a poor game but he’s a talented player that has that magical moment in him and that was the difference.”
Popovic, who felt his side weren’t at their best against Roar, admits he’s surprised at how quickly his new-look squad has gelled this season.
While much of the attention has been on their exciting, attacking football, the Wanderers boss believes it’s his side’s defensive strength which is the reason for their winning streak.
“We’re limiting teams to very few opportunities,” he said.
“We defended our box really resilient, put our bodies on the line which is a real feature of the way we defended, and we didn’t give them any real chances.
“We had a lot of defensive work to do today but as a unit we’re defending very well. Then when you have creative players that we have, we’re always a threat.
“Even in a tight match you always felt one of the front players could do something. In the end one of them did and we won the match.”