Popovic: Wins will come
The Wanderers – Asian Champions League winners just three weeks ago – are still propping up the Hyundai A-League after a frustrating 1-1 draw with Newcastle Jets at Pirtek Stadium on Saturday.
The home side made an ideal start with Tomi Juric grabbing a goal inside 12 minutes before allowing the Jets to draw level through Marcos Flores soon after.
Despite creating a host of chances and hitting the woodwork on two occasions, the Wanderers couldn’t find the breakthrough and were forced to settle for a point.
“They had one shot on target the whole game and we conceded,” a frustrated Popovic said.
“I don’t think we ever looked like losing the game but unfortunately we didn’t win. We had numerous opportunities to go two, three 4-0 up from some excellent play.
It’s a shame for the players because there was some excellent moves they did that there wasn’t an end product.
“Of course you need results but its important when you’re dominating like that you don’t throw the game away. We’ve done that twice now and I expect another improvement (next) Saturday.
“You can’t guarantee a result but if the performance keeps improving I know what happens next, you start racking up the points.”
The Wanderers certainly need to start doing that, stuck on just two points for the campaign and with a horror schedule in coming months.’
There were plenty of positives for the home side though, with the front four of Juric, Vitor Saba, Nikita Rukavytsya and Romeo Castelen causing havoc in just their second start all together.
“The reason these players have come in is so we can we get better,” Popovic said when asked why Mark Bridge was again left on the bench.
“That’s why they’re here and that’s why they’re fighting for places. I want everyone looking over their shoulder, including the new players.
“They’re not guaranteed a start just because they are new here. They have to earn that right…that’s the environment we want to create, all successful teams have it and if we want to keep challenging for honours we have to have that. We can’t get complacent.”
Despite still looking for a breakthrough win, Popovic feels his side is well-placed heading into next weekend’s blockbuster local derby against the highflying Sydney FC.
“From the Wellington game to Perth the little moments the moments got bigger, against Central Coast they got bigger again and today and now we want that for the derby,” the Wanderers boss said.
“They’re (derbies) unique, unpredictable, form doesn’t matter. There’s always flashpoints but we want the flashpoint to be a Western Sydney top performance and then the three points will be matched.”