Melbourne Victory have already clinched the FFA Cup but now coach Tony Popovic is preparing his troops for another kind of challenge.
Melbourne Victory coach Tony Popovic is preparing himself and his new players for the new normal in the A-League’s frenzied finish with three games in seven days, including another rescheduled match next Wednesday.
Covid has forced constant postponements of matches and officials still want to cram in every possible match to complete a full season, putting all teams, including Victory, under pressure to keep backing up.
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After taking the FFA Cup title last Saturday, Victory were rolled 1-0 by Wellington Phoenix in Wollongong on Wednesday night and will have to front up again against Newcastle on Saturday.
Then Popovic and his men will hit the road again four days later to take on Popovic‘s former side Western Sydney, making it four games in a full-on 11-day period.
“I think it will be this way now, probably for the rest of the year,“ Popovic said.
“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.”
Popovic was left to rue the “fine margins” that haunted his side in their loss to Wellington.
Despite failing to back up their FFA Cup success with a win, Popovic stopped short of calling the performance a “hangover”, instead detailing a number of factors as to why they weren’t able to overcome the Phoenix.
“That‘s always going to be a question. Everyone waits until the result to determine whether it was a hangover or not,” Popovic said.
“The conditions were different, we had to travel, it was a heavier pitch. There were a lot of different things today.
“You aren‘t always going to play great but we had fantastic opportunities today. 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.
“We had the best chances of the game, we just didn‘t take them. We made an error, they punished us and they’re the fine margins.”