Returning Sydney FC captain, Tony Popovic believes his team has learned a lesson from last week’s disappointing draw with the Central Coast Mariners and will be better for the experience when it lines up against the Wellington Phoenix at the Sydney Football Stadium.
Returning Sydney FC captain, Tony Popovic believes his team has learned a lesson from last week-s disappointing draw with the Central Coast Mariners and will be better for the experience when it lines up against the Wellington Phoenix at the Sydney Football Stadium.
The Sky Blues will be desperate to return to the winners list when they kick-off round-11 of the Hyundai A-League tonight and they-re confident they will get the job done against the Phoenix at home, following their shock loss to the Kiwi team in round-6 of the competition.
“We played them in Wellington and that was our first defeat of the season. We actually felt we played very well, they had two opportunities and they scored, and we got punished for it,” he said.
“You-ve got to give them credit, they did us and I-m sure they-ll come here with the belief that they can do it again and we-ve got to be prepared for that,” Popovic continued. “We-re on our home soil now and we want to keep our unbeaten run at home and get a crucial 3 points.”
The former Socceroo defender has taken it upon himself to mentor the younger members of Sydney-s inexperienced backline and believes they held their own during his injury-enforced absence.
“They-ve done a great job so far,” said Popovic. “I was 18 a long time ago and I had a lot of great advice from experienced players trying to help me out and hopefully I can give some of that back to these young boys.”
The 35-year-old says he-s happy with FC-s progress so far this season, but believes the team has plenty of improvement left in it in the run towards the finals.
“We had a chance to go top the other day so it just shows you how close we are to being up there, we-re a point of the pace,” he said. “We-ve got high standards here and high expectations and we want to be the top, we want to be the best and we-re not quite there yet.”
Sydney will have the chance to go top of the table, for 24-hours at least when it hosts last-placed Wellington tonight.
The match kicks-off at 8pm at the Sydney Football Stadium, following a National Youth League friendly between the Sky Blues and a touring Tasmanian team.