Popovic: Home support a huge boost

Victory Head Coach Tony Popovic is delighted with the team’s positive start to the 2021/22 campaign ahead of their Round 2 home clash with Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park on Sunday.

Popovic’s men grinded out opening week wins in the Isuzu UTE A-League and FFA Cup, with majority of the squad earning minutes across the two fixtures.

He says the squad is raring to go in their first home fixture of the season.

“There’s a lot to improve on but a lot to like as well. The application and attitude from all the players has been great,” Popovic said.

“Positive results always build confidence for players; it builds their beliefs in their own ability and what we’re trying to do. The results have been a bit of a reward for the hard work they’ve put in over a long period of time without playing games.

“We’re really looking forward to this game and getting the support we know we’ll get at home. We’ve got to make the most of that against an opponent who played well last week. It will be a very difficult game.

“We’re all looking forward to seeing our members and fans. Everyone’s excited about that, the whole Club is, and hopefully they can really get behind us and help us get the points against a team that will make it very difficult for us.”

Popovic expects to field a similar line-up to Round 1 after resting a number of veterans for the mid-week FFA Cup match.

With a strong Victory XI set to walk out on to AAMI Park in front of a big crowd, he hopes it’s the start of a successful home stadium advantage.

“We’d love to make it a fortress, but we have to earn that,” Popovic said.

“We have to deliver the performances and the results to turn it into what we want it to become. That doesn’t just happen overnight or with words, we’re working hard to try make it possible.

“Our members and fans need to see the same application, attitude and desire they saw last week in Geelong. Hopefully we can improve in little areas in our performance to get the points.”

Brisbane went down 2-1 to Melbourne City in Round 1 at AAMI Park, but Popovic says they’re a team not to be underestimated.  

“They’re a dangerous team,” he said.

“I thought they played a good game against Melbourne City. In the second half, they showed the quality and potential they have in their squad.

“I’m anticipating a real tough encounter. We need to be very good.

“We need to prepare as best we can and we’re taking the game very seriously, with full respect for Brisbane. We respect our opponents but also know if we play to the level we want to play, we can get the result at home.”