‘We can be so much better’: Hopkins eager to put Derby demolition in rear-view mirror
Melbourne Victory are reeling from their 4-0 loss to Melbourne City, but Jeff Hopkins says his side will swiftly return to their high standards to ensure they maintain their grip on a spot in the Westfield W-League Finals Series.
Victory approached Round 12 on a strong run of form, recording four consecutive wins over Canberra United, Newcastle Jets, Adelaide United and Perth Glory.
Holding a three-point buffer over Brisbane Roar, Hopkins was hopeful his side’s winning streak would continue in the Melbourne Derby but his side were instead given a stern wake-up call by the league-leaders.
SUNDAY REPORT: Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City
SUNDAY REPORT: Canberra United v Adelaide United
SUNDAY REPORT: Perth Glory v Brisbane Roar
Victory were ultimately spared major punishment as Brisbane fell to a shock loss to Perth Glory on the same day, meaning their hold on fourth spot remained intact leading into the final two rounds of the season.
Hopkins says he expects more from his group than what they dished up against City and a rapid response will be on the cards when Victory travel to play Newcastle on Sunday afternoon.
"We know we can be so much better than we were today and we've just got to make sure when we step foot on the pitch next week we're back to the standards we were setting the weeks before this," Hopkins told the club website.
"The Canberra game, the Newcastle win, the Adelaide win – we've got to get back to that and back to that quickly.
"I'm confident we will be because this was totally unexpected and out of the blue, the performance, so it's one of those weeks where you're just looking forward now to getting back out on the training field and putting things right."
Hopkins says the 4-0 loss to City was made worse by the positive build-up to the blockbuster clash.
It had been three weeks since his side last played a Westfield W-League game after they handily defeat Canberra United 3-0 in Round 11, and anticipation from Hopkins and his players for the Melbourne Derby continued to build as they waited to return to action.
Hopkins says the belief was high in Victory camp as the Round 12 clash approached, and although the demoralising defeat gave his side’s confidence a hit, Hopkins says the disappointment will be used to spur Victory onwards as they plan an assault on the Westfield W-League Finals Series.
"I thought City were excellent," he said.
"They moved the ball well, they were really up for the game and they outplayed us in every department.
"We were under-par as well, which highlighted maybe how good they actually were, but we're all really disappointed.
"We built this game up and after the last four wins on the spin it would've been nice to play them the week after we beat Canberra, while we still had our momentum, but no excuses really.
"We've got to hold our hands up today and say we were beaten by a better team and move onto next week."
Melbourne Victory travel to No.2 Sportsground on Sunday afternoon (4pm AEDT) where a match-up with the eighth-placed Jets awaits.
Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory
Sunday, February 23 - No.2 Sportsground
Kick-off 4pm AEDT