Melbourne Victory Head Coach Jeff Hopkins is looking ahead to next week as his side looks to reach the Liberty A-League Finals Series.
Victory suffered a 3-0 loss to Adelaide United on Saturday in what marked its seventh game in 23 days.
Casey Dumont suffered a suspected leg injury late in the clash as Victory was left in fourth on the table, now aiming to finish in that position at the end of the regular season.
Speaking afterwards, Hopkins lamented his team’s fatigue as he looked ahead to meeting Canberra United on Friday.
his assessment of the game…
“Obviously massive disappointment for everyone. I guess we can’t go past fatigue, at another level. It’s definitely affecting the way we can, the way we can’t play, in terms of how we set the team up. It’s the last of the seven games we had on the spin with the short rest between the two. The players are really disappointed in themselves and just in certain parts of the performance, probably the way that we lost out on physical duels, the closing down, the press wasn’t anywhere near like a normal A-League Women’s Melbourne Victory team. That’s the disappointing thing. We just weren’t able to play the way that we wanted to. We just didn’t physically have the capability of doing it. I’m disappointed, the players are disappointed, we’re all disappointed, but it’s not the time now to feel sorry for ourselves or cry over spilt milk. We need to regroup, we get ourselves together, we’ve got a game next week, it’s the biggest game of the season for us and we need to recover and we’ll get some proper time to recover, do a little bit of work on the field and be ready to beat Canberra next week and that’s all we’re focused on now. I wouldn’t like to be Canberra next week because we’re going to be really gunning for them. With the six days’ rest we’re going to get, we’re going to be going to work to win the game next week and get ourselves into the finals.”
on costly mistakes…
“I think those mistakes were made around fatigue. The first goal there was a physical duel that we lost halfway up the field and that led to us losing possession of the ball where we normally would’ve kept it and most probably gone on and created a chance, but from that we’re having to then deal with a one versus one situation in the wide area, again we lose another duel, ball comes into the box, so it was one thing on top of another, which was again very unlike us. That’s not what we’re all about as a team. It’s really tested us these last seven games. The players dug really deep, the Sydney FC game, how we got back into that game I don’t know, the same with the Canberra game, we really dug deep there, we just weren’t able to do it today. It was just a culmination of game after game after game and it kind of hit us today. I’m really proud of the way we finished the game off though. We could easily have thrown the towel in and it could’ve blown out to be a really ugly game, score, in the end. We even looked like we might’ve even nicked a consolation goal there late in the game until Casey got injured, obviously then we just had to put bodies behind the ball and just see the last few minutes out. I’m very, very proud of the effort of the girls, but also we need to understand that that’s not going to be accepted next week. We need to recover, do everything that we possibly can to get ourselves ready and then we need 15 warriors out there next week that are prepared to put their bodies on the line and if we can do that, I know our football will carry us through, but we need to make sure that we’re prepared to give everything next week and put bodies on the line, to make sure we win the game and make sure we get into the finals next week.”