Victory to grab chance to overtake Sky Blues ‘with both hands’ – Hopkins
Melbourne Victory boss Jeff Hopkins says his side are perfectly poised to snatch second spot on the Westfield W-League table from Sydney FC’s grasp as the two sides meet in a final-round clash this weekend.
While Sydney FC slumped to a shock 2-1 loss to Perth Glory in Round 13, Victory romped to a 7-0 win over Newcastle Jets to move within two points of the Sky Blues.
Second spot seemed all but secure for Sydney after their nearest challengers all lost in Round 12, but last weekend’s results have handed Victory the chance to overtake them at the final hurdle of the campaign as the sides meet at Marvel Stadium on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 5:00pm AEDT).
Hopkins says his side are ready to capitalise on the unlikely series of events which have unfolded to hand them one final chance at overtaking Sydney in second place.
“I think looking at a month or so ago, we were fighting for fourth place,” Hopkins said.
“We’ve now won five out of six games, we’ve given ourselves a chance with a few results going for us last week – for the opportunity of second place.
“We’re going to really have a go and grab the opportunity with both hands.
“Sydney are a very good side, we’ve got a lot of respect for them.
“They’ve lost a couple of players, quite influential players as well, but they’ve also replaced them quite well.
“We know what we’re going to get from them, a bit like us they’ll be coming to win the game, they’ll be positive in the way they approach the game which might make for a good game... because we’re going to be going at it in the same way.”
The mood in the Victory camp is a good one heading into Round 14, but it could have been a whole lot different after their comprehensive 4-0 loss to bitter rivals Melbourne City in Round 12.
Second place seemed a distant dream for Victory at the conclusion of that particular fixture, but Hopkins says his squad are now seeing the rewards from their fantastic response to the defeat, after they refused to let the crushing loss become a season-defining result.
“The game the previous week was pretty tough for us, but the reaction from the players was excellent,” Hopkins said.
“From the first day back I think as a group we took responsibility on our own shoulders and we decided first session back when we had a team meeting that we’d just move on and move forward from it.
“We got a fantastic reaction from the players.
“The girls last week were very, very good.
“We needed the goal difference, we needed to boost our goal difference which we did.
“There’s nothing like putting the ball in the back of the net to reaffirm we’re on the right track.
“As it turned out we probably could have got double figures that day, which was very pleasing.”
Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC
Saturday, 29 February 2020
Kick off: 5pm AEDT