Popovic outlines next step in Glory project

-

Tony Popovic says his side must back up their phenomenal 2018/19 A-League season to turn from a big team into a big club in the years to come.

Since Popovic’s arrival at Perth Glory, his team has risen like a purple balloon: growing larger and soaring higher with every goal, every win and the passion of every fan buying into the club’s exciting new era.

But when Sydney FC defeated Glory on Sunday night to become A-League champions that balloon popped, and out came a shower of shimmering sky blue confetti which fell through the air to nestle in the grass.

Embed from Getty Images

Long after Reza Goochannejhad’s decisive penalty hit the net and the pieces of confetti lay sprawled across the Optus Stadium turf, Popovic reflected on the dizzying heights his side had been to before Sydney pulled them back down to Earth.

“How do I feel? Disappointed, dejected,” Popovic said.

You can watch the A-League live for only $25 a month. Click here to read our review of Kayo Sports and to start your 14-day free trial.

“But not for myself, let’s make that clear, it’s for what I’ve seen all year, the way I’ve seen them train and play. They don’t deserve to be disappointed in that room today, so I’m down because of that.

“That’s football, football does these things, you have great moments and ups and downs. But we’ve had plenty of highs.

“We finished first as the best team in the league, we are in the AFC Champions League, we won the Premiers Plate – it’s been a phenomenal season.

“We couldn’t get the icing on the cake today, we did everything we could but in the end it wasn’t meant to be.”

Embed from Getty Images

Instead Popovic could only watch on as Steve Corica and Sydney FC celebrated, a sight he’s now had to endure four times from grand final opposition as an A-League coach.

But the short-term pain is all part of the process for the Glory boss, and with the future in sight and the pain of grand final heartbreak not only fuelling his own fire but the fire inside all of his players, Popovic is certain his side’s first skyward expedition to the pinnacle of the league will not be their last.

“We started this journey with Tony Sage, Tony Pignata and Jacob Burns to be a big team this year,” he said.

“We have been a big team this year – that’s clear – but the plan is to be a big club, and that takes time. That’s the next building block, can we be another big team next year and start considering ourselves as a big club?

Embed from Getty Images

“That’s exciting as well, it’s exciting times and we can try and build on the success we’ve had this season.

“I’m proud of everyone at the club, the staff and players, it’s been a pleasure to coach them this year. There is a group of champions in that room, including the staff and everyone associated with the club.”

Featured image: Darren Speedie, Vision Inspired Photography

Latest Articles

Brewer credits defence after Jets’ maiden win

Newcastle Jets first win of the 2019-20 W-League campaign was a product of a better defensive effort says Hannah Brewer. The 2-1 victory over Perth...

Confidence fuelling team success says Delbridge

Melbourne City defender Harrison Delbridge says newfound confidence in the side is fuelling success this season. Delbridge said the side's playing system was ensuring they...
Matthew Comito
Football nut, student journalist and firm believer that Berisha dived in the 2012 A-League Grand Final. Covering Perth Glory for the 2018/19 season.