Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic has heaped praise on his players after overcoming Melbourne Victory 1-0 on Saturday.
Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic has heaped praise on his players after overcoming atrocious conditions and a difficult opponent in Saturday's 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory.
Spurred on by a raucous 15,854 crowd who braved wet and wind at Pirtek Stadium, the Wanderers sealed their fourth straight victory on the back of an 82nd-minute goal from Mark Bridge.
The win lifts last season's Premiers temporarily into top spot on the A-League ladder ahead of Brisbane Roar, who play Newcastle Jets on Sunday.
"I think all round it was a very good performance against a very good team," Popovic said.
"It was an encounter that we expected to be a difficult one against a good opponent and the patches were a little bit longer today in terms of the good play, which is encouraging moving forward and we'll keep working hard to try and get those periods even longer.
"Defensively we were solid against a very good team, I think we always looked dangerous in attack we had some good opportunities that unfortunately we didn't make the most of but all round it was a good display."
Popovic was also delighted with the performance of his bench players including Labinot Haliti who set up Bridge's match winner.
"I think all the subs made a big difference, they all had an impact which is what you always hope for as a coach when your players come off the bench and I think they all did which is a real positive sign for us," he said.
He added of Haliti's effort in the lead up to Bridge's goal: "Fantastic, he was back to goal and a great little move there to lose his mark and it was a goal-scorer's finish from Bridgey.
"To be there on the spot, it looked easy from there but to keep the composure, it was a strong ball on a wet surface and it was great composure shown from Bridgey to get that goal."
Meanwhile, Popovic confirmed skipper Michael Beauchamp was fit and available for selection after being left out of the squad for the second straight week, with Matthew Spiranovic starting at centre back.
Asked if he believes Spiranovic has improved his side's ability to play the ball out from the back in the previous two matches, Popovic replied: "It would be unfair to say that.
"I thought we were doing that before and I think through the whole pre-season and in our previous games we've been doing that, it's just the periods haven't been so long as what they were tonight.
"It's something that we're working on to add another element to our game and at times tonight it was good, at times tonight it wasn't good but we'll keep working hard on that part of the game as well as others."