Tony Popovic says his side’s second half fight-back against Adelaide United shows the character of the Western Sydney Wanderers and proves they don’t deserve the wooden spoon.
The Wanderers overcame the disappointment of conceding just before half-time to come away with a morale-boosting 2-1 win over a 10-man Reds at Pirtek Stadium on Saturday.
”It’s good to see the great character form the team. When your down 1-0 just before halftime you could go ‘here we go again, it’s not happening for us’,” a proud Popovic said.
“In the second half the players responded very well, were positive, on the front foot and in the end they deserved their win.
“Tonight was not a team that looked like they were bottom.
“You don’t come back like that against a team like Adelaide that’s fighting for the Premier's Plate and do that to them in the second half if you’re a poor side.”
The victory sees the Wanderers move off the bottom of the Hyundai A-League ladder, one-point clear of the Newcastle Jets with one round to go.
Tomi Juric buried a 63rd minute penalty – after Nigel Boogaard was sent off for fouling Mark Bridge in the box – to level the scores before Bridge got the winner 10 minutes later.
The goal was extra special for Bridge, who was playing in his 200th Hyundai A-League match.
“I’m very pleased for him,” Popovic said of Bridge.
“We want to see him play a lot more games for this club and important games.
“He’s had a very good career thus far. I expect a lot from him and I will expect a lot more from him next year. I’m sure that’s how he likes it.”
Popovic didn’t take kindly and was refused to discuss the future of striker Kerem Bulut, despite reports in the lead-up to the match he was unlikely to re-sign for the club for next season.
“I’m not going to comment on speculation, where things come out in the papers just come from god knows where,” the Wanderers boss said.
“But if you hear something from our club in terms of a player we’ll give you a quote. But at the moment there’s nothing but speculation over Kerem.
“There’s a process we follow over re-signing players and players we bring in and that doesn’t change.”Asked if he would like to keep Bulut, Popovic said: “We’ll see.”