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Feb 09, 2022   |  9:48PM AET

Post-match reaction: Popovic

Post-match reaction: Popovic

Melbourne Victory Head Coach Tony Popovic lamented missed chances after Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to the Wellington Phoenix.

Victory squandered numerous opportunities, and Phoenix goalkeeper Oli Sail made several good saves, as its nine-game unbeaten run was ended at WIN Stadium in Wollongong.

Reno Piscopo’s second-half goal proved to be enough for the Phoenix.

Speaking at his post-match news conference, Popovic discussed the game and the changes to his line-up four days after winning the FFA Cup.

on the game…
“First half we started quite well and then the last 20 minutes they were on top. We made some changes, we had some young boys in, some players couldn’t back up, but overall we lost the game, that we have to face, but we had three wonderful chances in the second half. At 0-0, we had Ben Folami, Marco Rojas, Josh Brillante, we had one in the first half where we hit the post. We had the best chances of the game, we didn’t take them, we made an error, they punished us and they’re the fine margins. We didn’t take our chances today.”

on backing up after FFA Cup success…
“That’s always going to be a question. Everyone waits to see the result to determine whether there was a hangover or not. The conditions were different, we had to travel, it was a heavier pitch, there were a lot of different things today, but I’d say maybe especially the first half probably wasn’t our best, but if you have a look at the chances in the game, you’re not always going to play great, but we had fantastic opportunities today, wonderful, probably better chances than we had against Central Coast in the Final. Their keeper made some great saves, we should’ve taken those chances and hit the lead and in the second half I don’t recall them really having a shot on goal, so we were good in the second half, but credit to them, we made an error and they punished us so in the end we got what we deserved.”

on short turnaround again…
“I think it will be this way now probably for the rest of the year. We’ll have to play every three or four days, there’s another game, we have to recover well, hopefully we get some of the senior boys back that we didn’t have today to freshen some legs up and we go again at home against Newcastle.”

on rotation and AFC Champions League play-off…
“We had four senior players out today and two youngsters started. Nishan Velupillay started, Birkan (Kirdar) started his first game in the A-League and I thought he did well for a first start, for a 20-year-old he did a good job today. The game (against Vissel Kobe) is 15th of March so there’s still some time until then, we have to focus on the A-League, which we did today, we had the chances to win the game today, we didn’t take them and we’ve got to be better against Newcastle.”

on some senior players potentially returning…
“We hope so. We won’t have Rai Marchan back obviously with his facial injury. We’ll see how we go with Robbie Kruse hopefully, Roderick Miranda, Matt Spiranovic, so they’re senior players that hopefully we can get back in on the weekend.”