Tony Popovic said his Wanderers side did not deserve their 3-1 defeat at the hands of Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night following a valiant fightback.
Tony Popovic said his Western Sydney Wanderers side did not deserve their 3-1 defeat at the hands of Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night following a valiant fightback.
Popovic’s side started the top-of-the-table clash sluggishly, conceding twice in the opening 20 minutes, but they put the hosts under extended periods of pressure through the remainder of the contest as they sought to claw back the deficit.
Asked if his side deserved more for their efforts, Popovic replied: “Yeah, we do, but we can’t hide away from the fact that the first twenty 20 we were very poor.
“They’ve got some outstanding individuals, and we got punished, and that is credit to them.
“It’s mixed emotions really because from the 20-minute mark I think we totally dominated the game but we come away with nothing.”
Despite admitting his players were disappointed, Popovic said they would still take several positives away from the match.
“We totally pressed and bossed the game for 70 minutes away from home,” he said.
“I’m not sure too many teams will do dominate for 70 minutes here against Brisbane, so that’s a real positive for us.”
Roar’s two opening strikes were the first goals ever conceded by Wanderers in the opening 20 minutes of an A-League match, and Popovic said he was encouraged by the response of his players to the unfamiliar situation.
“The reaction was fantastic, you could’ve dropped your heads there and felt sorry for yourselves, but the reaction was fantastic from all my players,” he said.
“They stood up and they really should’ve got something out of the game.”
Wanderers were without star striker Tomi Juric for the second straight week, though Popovic refused to place too much emphasis on his absence in the team’s first defeat of the campaign.
“When you create that many chances it’s easy to say if we had Tomi and those chances we’d score, but it’s never quite like that,” Popovic said.
“Tomi is a good player and he’ll get his chance once he gets right, but we’re pleased overall with the chances we created and moving forward, if that continues, I’m sure the players we got will put them away.”
Further injury concerns arose after marquee Shinji Ono was substituted during the first half, but Popovic said the early change was more a precautionary measure.
“It’s not really serious, just tightness in his groin, and he wasn’t really moving freely there, so we thought it best to take him off,” he said.