Football 3 years ago

Same pattern, but WSW brand new for Popa

  • Same pattern, but WSW brand new for Popa

The similarities are striking, but comparisons between this Western Sydney outfit and the team that won the premiers' plate in their inaugural season isn't a place coach Tony Popovic wants to go.

The Wanderers finally clocked their first victory of the A-League season against Perth on Sunday, thanks to Dario Vidosic's first half-winner at Pirtek Stadium.

The 1-0 scoreline could have increased nearly five-fold had it not been for some poor finishing, but the occasion nevertheless marked an interesting moment for an encouraging Wanderers side displaying a resemblance to the past outfit's incredible run to the 2012/13 grand final.

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That season became one of the wonder stories of Australian sport, the first expansion club in the country's football history to win a trophy in their debut season, and only denied the premiership-championship double by Graham Arnold's Central Coast Mariners.

Though Popovic's renovated line-up this campaign includes only three of his foundation players, the initial squad's first win too was a 1-0 triumph that came in the fourth round - that time over Brisbane.

It's tempting to join the dots, but the coach wants this team to claim their own successes.

"A lot of things are matching up, but that feels so long ago," he said.

"This is something brand new again. Maybe points wise it is similar, but it feels different to me."

Differences aside, Popovic felt momentum was quickening and form improving, as the myriad new additions started to click.

The midfield was particularly impressive on Sunday, allowing barely a peep out of the Glory in a clear demonstration the new possession-based style of play is making headway.

Popovic singled out his three new Spaniards - Andreu, Dimas and Alberto - for their solid contributions but praised the whole group for making good on the promising play of the first three rounds.

Where Glory manager Kenny Lowe outright applauded Vidosic's quality on his starting debut, Popovic signalled the fringe Socceroo was only warming up.

"I'm sure he'd admit this, he's still well short physically," Popovic said.

"It was a tough game for him tonight to play a whole match. Ideally I would have liked to have played him less, but with the circumstances he had to stay on.

"But he showed his quality. That's what he's got. Our goal now is to make that more regular ... and they will as he gets fitter."

Popovic was mildly defensive at suggestions Italian marquee man Federico Piovaccari is still underperforming, saying the striker "just needs a break" and will eventually find the net.

"He's working very hard, the ball either just goes behind him or just too far in front on the crosses," he said.

"But once he gets the first goal he'll show his quality, that's for sure."

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