Popovic not getting ahead of himself as title race heats up

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Perth Glory currently sit six points clear on top of the ladder with just three games remaining, but Glory manager Tony Popovic insists that his side will continue to focus week by week, despite already having one hand on the Premier’s Plate.

If Sydney FC lose to cross-town rivals Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday night, the Perth Glory can go into their match against the Newcastle Jets on Sunday with the knowledge one point will be enough to win their first piece of silverware in the A-League.

The Glory slipped two games ago against third placed Melbourne Victory, but Popovic says that didn’t affect the players negatively.

“They didn’t look like a team that was lacking any belief or confidence”, Popovic said.

“They know that they played well, we just didn’t get the result”.

The Glory bounced back from that shock 2-0 home defeat by dominating the Central Coast Mariners in Gosford on Sunday night. The 3-0 scoreline saw Perth continue their undefeated run away from home, and edge a little closer to silverware.

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“We take another step closer to being able to achieve something special”, said Popovic.

“All year we’ve just gone game by game. We’ve never looked too far ahead, we’ve never expected anything easy.

“Sydney and Melbourne Victory are two very good teams, and they’re clubs that expect to win and have been challenging for a long time.

“We started this journey and we said we wanted to become a team that challenged regularly, and that takes years to do that, to be a big club. At the moment we’re a big team. We’re more than matching it with these big sides and our consistency is proving that week after week.

Although Perth are flying high on top, they’re being chased down by Sydney FC, and Popovic knows the threat they can bring to the premiership race.

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“No one is giving us anything. Sydney’s not going away saying ‘here, you can have it’, and that’s a quality that they have, and that’s what you expect. That group of players just keep backing up week after week and performing.

“It’s in our hands to just keep going week by week and producing the goods and getting the results, and if that gives us the opportunity to win a trophy, so be it”.

The Glory have a trip to Sydney to face Sydney FC in two weeks’ time. Assuming both sides win this weekend, victory for the Glory will see them confirmed premiers. If Sydney win, it will be a tense final round of A-League action to see who finishes the regular season in first place before the finals series.

Feature Image Credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Cameron Smith
Football writer and radio presenter. Loves everything football (well, except Italian's diving since '06).