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Feb 12, 2022   |  11:30PM AET

Post-match reaction: Popovic

Post-match reaction: Popovic

Melbourne Victory Head Coach Tony Popovic hopes his side can build on the strong first-half performance produced during the loss to the Newcastle Jets.

Jake Brimmer’s goal had Victory ahead at AAMI Park on Saturday, but a red card to Josh Brillante turned the Isuzu UTE A-League clash.

Valentino Yuel equalised before Beka Mikeltadze converted a controversial 70th-minute penalty in the Jets’ 2-1 win.

Speaking at his post-match news conference, Popovic discussed the decisions in the game and the positives.

on the penalty…
“It clearly wasn’t a pen. If we’re going to start giving penalties for challenges like that, then we’ve really got some issues. That’s not a penalty. In my view, that’s not a penalty.”

on if the red card changed the game…
“They scored in that moment, in that period, straight after the red card, which was Josh’s second challenge. There was a challenge in the first half from Mikeltadze which is a second yellow, but he had a yellow so he didn’t get a yellow card and Josh went, there was a challenge, the yellow card came out quickly. If we’re going to give yellow cards like that, let’s do it all the time. Let’s do it throughout the whole game and that’s the issue. Put that aside so we don’t talk about that. For me I’d rather talk about the first half. First half was outstanding from us, the best display we’ve had this year and that’s why I’m frustrated we didn’t win the game.”

on positives of first half…
“The whole display. The entire thing from start to half-time, with the ball, without the ball, controlling the game, creating chances, it was a fantastic display, shows a lot of growth from the team so we’re definitely on the right track.”

on his frustration…
“My frustration is only that that first-half display doesn’t get rewarded with points. Nothing else. Everything else isn’t worth talking about. Just that. That’s the only frustration I have. That that doesn’t get rewarded with points in the game, so we’ve got to continue, we’ve got try and repeat that on Wednesday now in Sydney, try and build on that first half and the rewards will come, the points will come if we keep playing that way.”

on fitness concerns…
“With such a short turnaround, there are always players, whether they can back up game after game every three or four days, that’s something that we have to monitor and check over the next couple of days before we travel.”