Popovic savours sweet derby victory
Tony Popovic said the harsh lessons learned from the inaugural derby inspired Western Sydney Wanderers to their win over Sydney FC.
In a dominant performance from the A-League new boys, winger Youssouf Hersi and former Sydney defender Michael Beauchamp scored a goal in each half to pour more misery on the Sky Blues' season in a 2-0 result on Saturday.
It was the perfect revenge for the Wanderers after Sydney claimed the first Harbour City derby 1-0 at Parramatta Stadium back in round three.
Popovic said the manner of the win - played in front of more than 26,000 fans at Allianz Stadium - showed just how far his side had improved since that first encounter.
On that occasion the Sky Blues ambushed their local rivals, with the visitors determined not to let that happen again.
"The players were definitely ready for it," Popovic said afterwards.
"They really wanted to improve on that last performance against them where we were overawed in the first half an hour.
"We matched them this time with intensity and when we had the chance to play we did. It shows how much we've improved as a club from round three to now. We're certainly on right track."
Popovic, who was a former player and assistant coach at the Sky Blues, was overlooked for the top job at the club when Vitezslav Lavicka left at the end of last season.
He rated the victory as arguably the new club's greatest moment.
"It's up there. We've had a lot of milestones at this club from our first pre-season game where 4000 people turned up, to winning our first game against Brisbane and now this one," Popovic said.
"This was sweet... it was special. I certainly enjoyed that.
"It was a great performance from everyone and I'm so happy for the club and the fans."
The Wanderers remain in fourth place with this victory, which was just the second time they have scored more than once in a game.
And Popovic believes the final scoreline flattered Sydney.
"Had we been sitting here with four or five goals it wouldn't have been a false result," he said.
"The players didn't think about sitting back and just holding on for the win. There was lots of positive play in the second half.
"That's back-to-back wins now but the challenge now is to try and put three results together which we haven't done."