Reward for effort pleases Popovic

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Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic is pleased his team has finally been rewarded for several weeks of strong performances following their 3-0 win over Melbourne City.

After a season riddled with defensive lapses and missed opportunities Perth finally produced a performance reminiscent of those, which lifted them to the premiership last season.

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“I thought it was a great reward because they’ve been playing well without reward,” Popovic said.

“Performance wise we’ve been pleased with what we’ve been doing, it’s just today we extended the minutes.

“We’ve had good patches throughout the season so far but we haven’t been able to extend the time that we can play well in attack and defence.

“Today we looked better than last week, we were stronger defensively, we didn’t give any clear chances away to a good attacking team.”

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The Glory were uncompromising from the get-go despite playing back-to-back road games in Melbourne.

They dominated a City team who fresh off the bye appeared unable to handle their defensive pressure.

Former City forward Bruno Fornaroli set the tone early when he outmuscled former teammate Harrison Delbridge and scored the opening goal of the game.

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Defensively the Glory shutdown sharpshooter Jamie Maclaren, nullifying his influence and holding him goalless for the first time this season. In every other game this year the striker has scored multiple goals.

“We were very strong as a team defensively,” Popovic said.

“Today against a fantastic attacking team we limited them to very little, and that sets a platform for our attacking players to be able to create and score.”

Defensively, it’s their first clean sheet of the season, which pleased the coach.

“It gives you confidence to have a clean sheet,” he said.

“I felt we deserved a clean sheet today, so I was very pleased the last fifteen minutes that we didn’t concede because I felt that’s something we deserved.”

Perth are just the second team to hold Melbourne City goalless this year, who coming into the game had scored a competition-high 16 goals in seven games.

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Popovic believes the team’s defence will continue to develop as they spend more time together.

“It takes time with a new group,” he said.

“A group that hasn’t had stability in the preseason and the early parts.

“That was Tommy’s [Mrcela] first match this year. Tommy was injured in the latter part of preseason so there’s another player that will need time.”

On top of a strong defensive effort, Mrcela also scored a goal late in the game.

The Glory will return to Perth for back-to-back home games against the Western Sydney Wanderers and Newcastle Jets in the next two weeks.

Feature Image Credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Michael Patane
Student at Monash University and lover of all things football covering Melbourne City in 2019/20.