Popovic: Brutal run doesn't phase Wanderers

Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic says his team will take it "one game at a time" after kickstarting a gruelling run of 13 matches in 53 days across four continents on a winning note.

The Wanderers were comfortable 2-0 winners over Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Saturday night and will now turn their attention to Wednesday night's opening AFC Champions League clash with Korean club Ulsan Hyundai.

It will be a new experience for last season's A-League runners-up and Popovic admitted he did not know what to expect – apart from a passionate crowd at Western Sydney's Parramatta Stadium.

"We're just focusing on our schedule and it's just one game at a time for us," Popovic said.

"That's a great three points, but we've got to put that behind us now and recover well and play in the prestige tournament that is the ACL.

"It's something we're proud to be associated with as a club and we're really looking forward to it and want to give it a real good shot."

Popovic said it was likely he would rotate his 23-man squad where possible to give his team the best possible chance to succeed in the ACL as well as push their A-League championship credentials.

Marquee player Shinji Ono (illness) and veteran goalkeeper Ante Covic (groin) did not make the trip to Perth, while defender Jerome Polenz will be available after missing the win over Glory due to suspension.

Popovic highlighted the performance of reserve goalkeeper Jerrad Tyson as evidence there was plenty of depth in his squad for the next two months when the Wanderers will travel to Japan, China and Korea in between A-League matches.

"He hasn't played at all and to keep training every single day, waiting for that opportunity, it's a challenge for him personally," Popovic said.

"He showed why he's a true professional and he had a great game."

Western Sydney remains second on the A-League table with 34 points, four adrift of league leaders Brisbane Roar, who are away to Melbourne Heart on Sunday.

Popovic said he was pleased to leave Perth with another three points in the bag, but felt his team's dominant performance could have been more polished.

"In the second half we probably gave away too much possession and gave them a chance to get back in the game," Popovic said.

"Jerrad made a fine save off a corner and just after that we go and make it 2-0, but that all came from us losing the ball when we had good possession and that's something we can improve on."


SHARES
comments