‘We have something to build on’: Popovic’s Glory plan still taking shape
It’s not the dream start he was after but Tony Popovic must be pleased with what he saw from his Perth Glory in their Hyundai A-League season opener.
Glory were superb in the first half against Western Sydney Wanderers and were perhaps unfortunate to not lead by more than the 1-0 scoreline they did at the break.
But as can often happen in the early rounds of a new season, the same energy, purpose and goal threat couldn’t be maintained after the break.
They were made to pay for that slight drop off as Roly Bonevacia struck 25 minutes from time to salvage a 1-1 draw.
And the visitors certainly do deserve a lot of credit for the way they responded after a lacklustre opening half.
Popovic’s teams have always had a reputation of supreme fitness and concentration, which is why the manner of Western Sydney Wanderers’ equaliser will be a source of frustration for the Glory boss.
“If we just look at the result we’re a bit disappointed not to get the win,” he told Fox Sports post-match.
“I think we had enough of the game, certainly enough control and opportunities to win the match but we go away with a point and we have something to build on.”
There are certainly plenty of positives for the new-look Glory.
Caltex Socceroos left-back Jason Davidson was excellent on his first start in the Hyundai A-League, while Glory have extended their unbeaten run in an opening round match at home to 13 years.
Glory also looked threatening in Popovic’s adventurous 3-4-3 formation he’s implemented for much of the pre-season.
Central defenders Shane Lowry, Alex Grant and Tomi Mrcela were excellent, while Davidson and Ivan Franjic made the most of the space on the flanks.
The midfield duo of Neil Kilkenny and Juande appear to have struck up an immediate understanding and with skipper Diego Castro still to return, Glory can only get better.
However, Popovic knows it will take time before they are at their peak.
“It’s a new coach, new staff in the football department, there’s a lot of new players, it’s a new formation,” he said of his Glory side.
“Overall we’re pleased with the parts of the game where we saw what we have been working on was there but I’m sure it will get better and better.
“You can see there are a lot of good patches of our football. Unfortunately, we couldn’t finish it off with a goal and we conceded a soft goal really.
“It was their first attempt on goal so it’s a disappointing one from our point of view. But [Glory] kept going at the end and kept creating opportunities.”