Hopkins praises Victory run


Jeff Hopkins praised Melbourne Victory’s run of form and results after a 3-0 win over Canberra United in the Westfield W-League on Sunday.

A first-half brace from Melina Ayres and Natasha Dowie’s header saw Victory to a fourth straight win and into fourth on the table.

Hopkins – who set a record for most Westfield W-League wins as a head coach – has been pleased with Victory’s results and improving performance as it pushes for a top-four finish.

“We set these four games that we’ve just won on the spin, we set two targets. One was about performance and that was could we get better in certain areas every week and for every week that we’ve played we’ve reviewed and we’ve looked at getting better in those areas and I think we definitely have,” he said.

“And obviously we said if we wanted to make finals it was about results as well and the attitude had to be right so that winning mentality to a good performance and an improving performance, we’ve looked at the end of these four games, we looked to have four wins and four good performances and it’s definitely been like that.

“The girls have been fantastic. They’ve run with it, every week they’ve worked hard to put things right and to get better in certain areas and it’s now time for us, we’ve got a couple of weeks to sit back and reassess and look where we are and see where we go now from here.

“The performance was excellent. I think last week and now this week just the amount of chances we are starting to create now, we’re getting to understand the new formation that we’re playing and most probably looking at understanding the ways to goal as well.

“The main reason, we need to win games, we need to get more players forward, we need to create more chances and we’re starting to do that now so really pleasing.”

Ayres made the most of her start, producing two fine finishes for her first goals of the campaign.

Hopkins said the 20-year-old had impressed in training and the Victory head coach was happy to see Ayres on the scoresheet.

“She earned her place this week with how she trained,” he said.

“She was excellent, caught our eye in the early sessions of the week and just everything that you want from a player that has been sort of left out for a few games, but she rolls her sleeves up, works hard and shows you that she wants to play.

“I was really pleased for her because she comes into the side and whenever she comes in she gives 100 per cent, she works hard, she’s worked really hard on the defensive side of her game and that might come at a little bit of a cost to the attacking side of her game and it’s good to see her get goals because she’s a goalscorer.

“Her and Tash are the two natural goalscorers in our team and it’s good to see her just being nice and positive and getting a reward for it as well so really pleased with the effort she put in and she gave everything she had and then we took her off when she got a little bit tired towards the end.”