‘The girls have been fantastic’ – Hopkins praises Victory form surge

Melbourne Victory coach Jeff Hopkins says his team is meeting the challenges set for them as they continue their push for a place in the Westfield W-League Finals Series.

The Victory made it four wins on the trot on Sunday as they dispatched Canberra United 3-0 at Lakeside Stadium – the result also marking a second straight clean sheet for last season’s Premiers.

The result lifts the Victory ahead of Brisbane Roar in the race for the top four and sees the team in strong form ahead of a highly anticipated derby clash with Melbourne City in Round 12, following the international break.

Hopkins told melbournevictory.com.au that he feels his side is getting better and better as the business end of the season nears.

“We set these four games that we’ve just won on the spin, we set two targets,” Hopkins explained.

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“One was about performance and that was could we get better in certain areas every week and for every week that we’ve played we’ve reviewed and we’ve looked at getting better in those areas and I think we definitely have.

“And, obviously, we said if we wanted to make finals it was about results as well and the attitude had to be right so that winning mentality to a good performance and an improving performance, we’ve looked at the end of these four games, we looked to have four wins and four good performances and it’s definitely been like that.”

“The girls have been fantastic. They’ve run with it, every week they’ve worked hard to put things right and to get better in certain areas and it’s now time for us, we’ve got a couple of weeks to sit back and reassess and look where we are and see where we go now from here.

“The performance was excellent. I think last week and now this week just the amount of chances we are starting to create now, we’re getting to understand the new formation that we’re playing and most probably looking at understanding the ways to goal as well.

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Key to the win over Canberra was the performance of 20-year-old Melina Ayres, who was elevated into the starting line-up for the clash and delivered a first-half brace.

Hopkins said the youngster complemented proven goalscoring captain Natasha Dowie in a potent attacking threat for his side.

“She earned her place this week with how she trained,” he said.

“She was excellent, caught our eye in the early sessions of the week and just everything that you want from a player that has been sort of left out for a few games, but she rolls her sleeves up, works hard and shows you that she wants to play.

“I was really pleased for her because she comes into the side and whenever she comes in she gives 100 per cent,” he concluded.

The Victory follow-up their derby clash with City with a tricky away trip to Newcastle Jets before wrapping up the regular season at home against another rival in Sydney FC.

Bushfire relief

Round 12

Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City
Thursday, 13 February 2020
Lakeside Stadium
Kick-off: 7:30pm AEDT

Match Centre

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