A-League Men’s coach Tony Popovic spoke to the media post-match after his side’s opening-round win over Sydney FC.
On his side’s performance…
“I think we came into the game, certainly match fitness-wise, below Sydney, but we certainly didn’t lack.
“Today was more about the performance. The result is a bonus, of course, but I think the performance showed that we’re not the same team as last year and then getting an away win at Sydney in the Big Blue, our fans going home happy, that’s the icing on the cake.
“But I thought the performance showed where we’re heading and there’s a lot more to come.”
On the return of Paul Izzo…
“We haven’t had Paul for the last six weeks of pre-season, so he trained this week.
“It shows how he’s progressing, that he can do four sessions and play no pre-season games in the last six weeks.
“And I don’t think he had much to do, but I think he communicated well and controlled the box well, coming out for crosses, and dealing with the long-range shots really well, which is not easy because I’m sure he would have fatigued throughout the game as well.”
On Zinedine Machach…
“We’ve liked a lot about Zinedine.
“He had three months without any training between clubs. And like all foreigners, some settle quicker than others. It’s a demanding league.
“You have to be physically fit, you have to respect this league. And he’s come with a fantastic mindset to work hard to be a team player and ultimately to show his talent and his quality, which I think we’ve just touched the surface of what he can do.”