Popovic: Wanderers pass test
Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic was thrilled his side have come through a busy fortnight in a strong position.
Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic was thrilled his side have come through a busy fortnight in a strong position, despite having to juggle AFC Champions League and A-League commitments.
Although they lost to cross town rivals Sydney FC in round 22, good results since then see Western Sydney in a strong position in the ACL and still second place in the domestic competition.
The last game of the stretch resulted in a commanding 3-0 defeat of Perth Glory and Popovic said overall he was happy with how his side had coped with the workload.
'Good day, good couple of weeks,' Popovic said. 'It's been a difficult period, five games in 15 days.
'When you think the first game was a defeat in the derby, and the way the players have responded, we're obviously very proud of the group.
'They have been really focussed and it's been a fantastic response in the four matches since the derby defeat.'
Against Perth, it took his side 42 minutes to open the scoring despite being the dominant side from the outset, but Popovic said he was not concerned and was happy his side did not panic.
'We believed that if we maintained our quality and maintained our final third entries that we were getting, that we would get rewarded.
'In the end it was a reward for a good performance on the back of a tough couple of weeks.'
The Wanderers coach said his entire squad had responded well to the increased workload.
'As a group, everyone's played their part in these two weeks. Some have played more games than others, but everyone's contributed and the response has been excellent.
'The players will go home happy tonight but also they look forward to a couple of days off for sure.'
With Brisbane having secured the Premiers Plate with their win over Melbourne Victory on Saturday night, the real story over the next three weeks will be the race for the remaining finals spots.
Wanderers are currently holding on to second and if they maintain this position, Western Sydney will enjoy a bye in the first week of finals.
With that in mind, Popovic said his side will be looking to close out the season strongly.
'Whoever is there it's quite congested and with three games to go we're in front at the moment,' Popovic said.
'We want to stay there and we'll do everything we can to stay there.'