Chianese: How Popovic took my game to the next level

Joel Chianese has been handed a new lease of life by head coach Tony Popovic and the Perth Glory forward credits his boss for his rich vein of goalscoring form. 

The 29-year-old is on pace for his best ever Hyundai A-League goalscoring campaign, having struck in three straight matches for the Premiers as they approach the half-way point of season.

Chianese started out hot as a Sydney FC youngster, netting six times in nine games during a breakout 2011/12 and that remains his best ever goal return.

The Harbour City-native netted five times in a career-best 20 starts as Glory romped to the Premiers Plate in 2018/19, and he has worked his way to the front of Popovic’s mind, starting seven games this season.

Chris Ikonomidis has been the fall guy, coming off the bench in the last three games, as Glory racked up a club record six-win stretch to rise from the bottom of the ladder to third.

“The longer I’ve played under Popa, he makes you believe in yourself a lot more,” Chianese said.

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“I mean I’ve got all of the attributes to be up the top, and be playing week in week out and be one of the best in the league.”

With Chianese forming a lethal combination with Diego Castro and Bruno Fornaroli, he revealed the magic touch from Popovic, and a confidence boost from his teammates, has made the difference.

“[Popovic] would always tell me - you don’t know how good you are,” Chianese said. 

“He’ll show me clips and say you’ve just done this because you’ll beat that defender. 

“You’ve got the speed, you’ve got everything you need to beat that defender. I don’t care if you lose the ball.”

He added: “I’m very close with Diego [Castro]. I’m very close to a lot of the Spanish boys that have so much experience. 

“They back me massively and I think that’s gone a long way to helping me.”

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Joel Chianese: 2019/20 stats

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Western Sydney Wanderers v Perth Glory
Sunday, 19 January 2020
Bankwest Stadium
Kick off: 6.30pm AEDT
Broadcast: FOX Sports 505
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