Hopkins praises Victory toughness

Annalie Longo

Melbourne Victory head coach Jeff Hopkins was pleased with his team’s toughness after a 1-0 win over Perth Glory on Tuesday.

Annalie Longo’s second goal in as many games saw Victory extend its unbeaten run to six games and climb into third on the Westfield W-League table.

Hopkins praised the way his side adapted at Dorrien Gardens and the toughness of his players to secure an important three points.

“It was a tough game for us. They played a little bit different to how we expected, they played a lot more direct, which didn’t give us the opportunity to press high up the field, so when we won the ball we were a little bit further back, they dropped off us a little bit more than we expected as well so took us by surprise a little bit,” he said.

“I think overall it was a real gritty performance, we defended well, we worked hard as a team. The pitch was a difficult surface, the grass was quite long and it was slow so it didn’t really suit the way we play, but we stuck to our game and we worked really hard for each other and ground out the result.

“A great goal we scored as well, bit of magic from Kyra (Cooney-Cross) to beat her player and some real composure to cut the ball back and over the past few weeks we’ve been talking about getting better runs into the box and Annalie really held her run off and was there to put the ball away. I was very pleased with the goal.

“In general, it was just a real tough, away performance, we just saw the game out really well so I was really pleased for the team. We’re in the position now where when we’re not playing as well as we can do or we have to play a little bit different we can change our style a little bit and be tough and gritty and rely on rolling our sleeves up and working as a team so I was pleased with it.”

Victory goalkeeper Gaby Garton made six saves, including a one-on-one stop to deny Caitlin Doeglas in the first half, to keep a clean sheet.

Hopkins praised the goalkeeper and his team’s defensive efforts as a whole after the win.

“The back four and Gaby were excellent, but they’re just part of the whole unit. Four players can’t defend on their own, it’s definitely a team thing. The midfield in front worked very, very hard, our strikers worked tirelessly as well. Wherever we were on the field we were putting pressure on so I thought defensively we worked very hard,” he said.

“I thought Gaby was outstanding as well, a couple of chances they had in the first half, one especially from Doeglas, she kept us in the game there so really pleased for her and her performance. She’s been really consistent in her performances right from the first game, I’m really pleased for her that she gets a little bit of acknowledgement as well from this game.”