Popovic hails his wet Western Sydney winners

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic has heaped praise on his players after overcoming atrocious conditions and a difficult opponent in Saturday's 1-0 A-League win over Melbourne Victory.

Spurred on by a raucous crowd of 15,854 who braved wet and wind at Pirtek Stadium, the Wanderers sealed their fourth straight victory on the back of an 82nd-minute goal from Mark Bridge.
 
The win temporarily lifts last season's premiers into top spot on the A-League ladder ahead of Brisbane Roar, who play Newcastle Jets on Sunday.
 
"I think all round it was a very good performance against a very good team," Popovic said.
 
"It was an encounter that we expected to be a difficult one against a good opponent and the patches were a little bit longer today in terms of the good play, which is encouraging moving forward and we'll keep working hard to try and get those periods even longer.
 
"Defensively we were solid against a very good team, I think we always looked dangerous in attack we had some good opportunities that unfortunately we didn't make the most of but all round it was a good display."
 
Meanwhile, Popovic confirmed skipper Michael Beauchamp was fit and available for selection after being left out of the squad for the second straight week, with Matthew Spiranovic starting at centre-back.
 
Asked if he believes Spiranovic has improved his side's ability to play the ball out from the back in the previous two matches, Popovic replied: "It would be unfair to say that.
 
"I thought we were doing that before and I think through the whole pre-season and in our previous games we've been doing that, it's just the periods haven't been so long as what they were tonight.
 
"It's something that we're working on to add another element to our game and at times tonight it was good, at times tonight it wasn't good but we'll keep working hard on that part of the game as well as others."
 
Victory coach Kevin Muscat said he was disappointed to finish a game empty-handed for the second week in succession, but struggled to find fault with his team's performance.
 
"The reality is tonight was a performance where we definitely should have got something out of the game," he said.
 
"I don't want to look too far ahead. Is there improvement in the side? Of course there is. There has been some ... distractions," he added, refereeing to the absence of Mark Milligan and Kosta Barbarouses through international duty.
 
"But it's not an excuse, we've got a big enough and good enough squad to cope with these things.
 
"The performance was good tonight, we're heading in the right direction. There's no doubt about that."
 
"All in all, I can't fault anyone. It's just disappointing, to go away with nothing. Very disappointing."
 
Victory's next opportunity to get back on track is a grudge match at home to long-term rivals Adelaide United next Saturday.