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Dec 18, 2021   |  10:50PM AET

Post-match reaction: Popovic

Post-match reaction: Popovic

Melbourne Victory Head Coach Tony Popovic was pleased with his side’s reaction to fight back in a 2-2 Derby draw against City.

Victory led early through Francesco Margiotta at AAMI Park on Saturday, only for Jamie Maclaren and Andrew Nabbout to put City ahead in the second half.

Victory responded and found an equaliser through Nick D’Agostino, with Maclaren sent off in the dying stages.

Speaking at his post-match news conference, Popovic discussed the game, his side’s response and Marco Rojas’ injury.

on the game…
“It was a real Derby. We wanted to bring that back, obviously after last year because it really wasn’t a contest, but we made it a contest today, we brought the passion back on the field and obviously the fans as well felt that Melbourne Victory was back today and competed well.”

on conceding two quick goals…
“It was actually in a period where we were in control. We lost the ball and the quality they have and they punished us. We were in the ascendancy, we were controlling the game, I thought we were in a good way on the pitch with the ball. Then, one loose pass, one through ball and they can hurt you quickly and that’s what they did, that’s why they’re good.”

on response…
“It was two goals in quick succession. Maybe the players were still getting over the equaliser, especially considering we were on top, but that happens. We can look at all the little details and that can happen, but the reaction after that probably was the most pleasing because things went wrong, you’re quickly down 2-1 in a Derby, obviously their confidence is high, they’re full of belief again and we found a way to come back and in the end could’ve even won it.”

on improvement…
“I’ve maintained that since the first game. If you recall every press conference I’ve said this team can and will get better. I think it’s factual. Players that haven’t trained, haven’t played, came late and missed pre-season, of course they can get better, but we’re picking up points as we’re evolving as a team and we’re showing amazing attitude and resilience which is positive for us moving forward. I think in time we’ll be a better team and we need individuals to keep growing and hopefully we can have a little bit more luck with some injuries, but that’s all part of the process unfortunately, but tonight we’re happy with the performance and happy to get a point in the end.”

on Rojas…
“He got an innocuous, it wasn’t even a challenge, at training the day before, he fell awkwardly and we thought it was just a knock. Maybe that’s still bothering him. We don’t think it’s anything serious but obviously it was impeding his movement and if it’s impacting the player then we have to respect him wanting to come off and we had to make the change. Not ideal, but we’re confident it’s nothing serious.”