Melbourne Victory Head Coach Jeff Hopkins was proud of his side’s resilience after a come-from-behind 2-2 draw with Canberra United on Tuesday.
For the second time in a week, Victory came from 2-0 down to draw in the Liberty A-League, as Alex Chidiac and Tiffany Eliadis scored late on at Viking Park.
With two regular-season games remaining, Victory – which saw Maja Markovski’s second-half penalty saved – is fourth on the table.
Speaking afterwards, Hopkins discussed the game – his team’s sixth in 19 days – and the turnaround in the second half.
his assessment of the game…
“Very, very tired performance, in the first half especially, but so proud of the whole of the team, the resilience they showed, the way they refused to be beaten and to come back. At half-time, they looked so tired and I wasn’t sure if we had it in us to come back. We talked about a few things, just hanging in there and they’re just amazing in the way that they kept going, turned the game around later on in the half, especially again after we missed a penalty as well, that would’ve got us back into it. Again, it shows real character and resilience that we can put those things behind us and not let them affect us and just keep going and going and going. The way things went at the end it wouldn’t have surprised me if we had stolen the game 3-2. It was not a great football performance, for sure, but in terms of a boost to the morale of the group, definitely, in terms of a boost to the group to know that they again for the second time in a couple of games we were able to come back from two goals down and really get on top of a team. It’s not the ideal result, a draw, but in the circumstances of the game, it’s a bonus for us. The players obviously now are pretty tired, but they’re in good spirits and I think that’s really important. We’re doing as we’ve done in the last five or six games, we’re coming away from a game, we’re doing our recovery tonight, we’ll travel home tomorrow, most probably have a day off to relax and recover and then one day’s light training and then into the game again in Adelaide. Once that Adelaide game is done, then we’re kind of back into a six-day turnaround so the luxury of having a bit of training and actually some preparation on the field for a game. The feeling now is really proud of all the girls, the way that they dug deep into their reserves and pulled a result out of the game in the second half.”
on what changed…
“I think we had a couple of problems with our midfield in the first half. We put Kyra (Cooney-Cross) into the centre, brought Maja on, put Kyra on Grace Maher, who was causing us a few problems, Paige Zois on (Chelsee) Washington and then we left Mindy (Barbieri) to just float with the other player. They didn’t dominate the midfield as much in the second half, we got a grip of the midfield. Grace Maher was kind of dictating play and they could switch play very, very easily in the first half, bring their full-backs into the game and I think once we got a grip of her, put a little bit more pressure on her, they weren’t able to do that as easily and it made the job of everyone else a lot easier. I thought Kyra did really well second half, Maja came on and made a difference for us as well, gave us a bit of a target. I think getting in control of the midfield or not letting their midfield run away with the play was a big difference second half.”