Post-match reaction: Hopkins

Melbourne Victory Head Coach Jeff Hopkins was proud of his side’s performance in a 1-0 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers.

Maja Markovski’s second-half penalty at CommBank Stadium on Sunday was enough for Victory to bounce back in the Liberty A-League.

Hopkins described the win as one of the toughest since his time at the helm as Victory kept a first clean sheet of the season.

on the win…
“I was really proud of the performance to be honest. It’s something we’ve been asking the players for a while now. After the last two games, the goals we’ve conceded, just the manner the games went, we asked the players just to be a little bit more resilient, to make sure we base our performance on hard work, pressure, intensity and I think we got a lot of that. The other thing I thought as well, although we didn’t create a huge amount of chances, I thought we kept the ball quite well today, we moved the ball well and we were quite composed in possession. I’m really pleased and against a pretty tough side. They’ve only conceded two or three goals this year so to go and grab ourselves a goal in the game as well, I was really pleased with the performance and probably one of the toughest wins that I’ve been involved with since I’ve been at the Club. The last 10 minutes or so we were under the pump and we’ve worked on dropping back and being nice and compact and being a bit more comfortable defending a 1-0 lead and I was very, very pleased with the team performance and there were a number of outstanding individual performances as well.”

on defence…
“I think it was really good. We’ve worked on that this week, and to be honest we’ve been working on it over the last few weeks. I thought our back four were excellent. Lia Privitelli dropped into left-back, did a really good job for us, Casey (Dumont) coming back in was excellent marshalling the back four ahead of her, the two centre-backs (Claudia Bunge and Amy Jackson) were excellent today and it was Polly’s best game of the season as well. Alana Murphy, we gave her a bit of a defensive role today which isn’t really her strength as a player, she’s a ball player, she likes to get on the ball and play, which she did really well and she kept possession, but she kind of grew. For a 16-year-old girl, such a mature performance from her today just shows what a great player she’s going to be in the next 12-18 months. I thought ‘Chids’ (Alex Chidiac) was great as well. Francesca Iermano made her debut, she adds a lot to us. There were some really good individual performances. I could go through the whole side. ‘Zimm’ (Catherine Zimmerman) was fantastic, Maja held the ball up for us really well, fantastic performance from all the players. You can tell from my voice I’m really proud of the performance they put in. It hasn’t been easy the last couple of weeks, losing those two games and then not being able to play the following week against Newcastle, having to wait. We lost Lynn (Williams) this week, we lost Kyra (Cooney-Cross), we lost Courtney (Nevin), Harriet (Withers), we lost her right at the last minute as well, (Melissa) Maizels, lost her through injury. We didn’t have a full quota on the bench so there were a lot of things that went against us this week, but really proud of the way the players approached the game, very, very positive. Just really proud of the whole performance.”

on Markovski…
“She did a great job for us with her pressure, but also probably the most important thing she held the ball up really well for us, she kept possession long enough for us to get support to her and then that allowed us to either switch play or to come back and just to circulate the ball. It wouldn’t have been for her being able to just get that initial touch and kick the ball away from the opponent the game would’ve been a lot different. She knew it was an important game for her as well, she had to come in and do well and for her to step up and take the penalty, a girl of her age as well, but again all of our bench, there wouldn’t have been anyone else who would’ve wanted to take it because she’s a bit of a specialist from the penalty spot so I’m really pleased for her because she’s worked hard for this start. She’s always done well when she’s come on for us, she’s had some good players ahead of her recently and it shows the quality she’s got that she’s waited and waited and when the chance has come she’s grabbed it with both hands so really pleased for her, I thought she was excellent today.”