Popovic laments 'very sloppy goals'

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Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic praised his side’s stunning fightback but lamented some poor defending in their derby defeat against Sydney FC.

The Wanderers stormed back from three goals down midway through the first half to draw level at 3-3 after two goals from new signing Kerem Bulut and another to Iacopo La Rocca.

But in another incredible twist to an epic encounter, Terry Antonis pounced with 15 minutes left to give the Sky Blues bragging rights at Pirtek Stadium.

"Every defeat is painful but losing to your local rival is never easy to take," Popovic said.

"That's three games we've had chances to win against them and should have won. We led 2-0 in the first game, totally dominated the second one and dominated today but we walk away with no wins."

Asked about the horror start, Popovic said: “All three goals were very sloppy goals. I don’t think it was from them playing well.

“The first one was from a corner which ricocheted in, the next two were from long balls and we just didn’t deal with (Marc) Janko’s presence and we got punished.

“The second half they had one attempt and we didn’t deal with it again. There’s a lesson to be learned there that we have to be more ruthless and clinical in both boxes.”

While the defeat to their rivals was hard to take, the performance of ex-Sky Blue Bulut in his maiden appearance was a positive.

"I'm delighted for him to get two goals but I'm disappointed he hasn’t got those in a winning team which he should have today,” Popovic said.

With just one win from 17 games and a hectic schedule ahead including AFC Champions League matches, Popovic conceded for the first time any hopes they had of pushing for the top six are probably gone.

“We need a minor miracle to get there but there’s a lot to play for us,” he said.

“We’ll pick ourselves up and go again. The character the players showed was fantastic, it’s not of a team that’s struggling with confidence but has belief.

“But this is how it’s been going in a lot of the games … when we’ve been dominating we’re conceding and it changes the momentum of the game.”