Despite being confident heading into this do or die clash, Glory coach Bobby Despotovski says the pressure is on the opposition.
Glory’s “extraordinary” season saw the side finish equal first with Canberra United and book an all important home advantage for Saturday’s semi-final against Sydney FC at nib Stadium.
A massive game on the big stage awaits Despotovski’s troops, with the coach acknowledging the whole squad deserves this opportunity.
“The girls did an extraordinary job the whole year round,”
“A lot of dedication [from the team] and it’s only fitting to reward them with a double header home final,” he added.
Caitlin Doeglas’s strike at the death against Western Sydney last weekend secured the blockbuster match-up, a result that the Glory legend views as very much justified.
“The last game in the last 30 seconds [we scored] a goal… I think it’s a fitting testament to the resilience of the team that we have here and they thoroughly deserve everything that they got,” Despotovski said.
Despite Perth finishing above their opponents this season, the head coach insists the pressure is well and truly with Sydney this weekend, as he embraced the underdog tag.
“It’s expected for Sydney to succeed, it’s as simple as that,”
“We’re definitely underdogs, and even though we’re playing at home, we’re still cast as the underdogs,” he said.
The mouthwatering clash is a significant occasion for the team, with Despotovski warning his players to be wary of the sudden death nature of the finals and the need to be at their very best.
“When you play during the season, you can rectify your mistakes the following week,”
“Now it’s like a cup final,” he added.
Glory will be boosted by the return of captain Sam Kerr and Nikki Stanton after serving a one-week suspension.
Despotovski wasn’t backward in coming forward about the importance of Kerr and the entire squad.
“We’re talking about the best player in Australia at this point in time,” he said regarding the Matildas striker.
“We’re lucky to have Sam here and every coach is aware of her speed and what she brings to Perth Glory,”
“Every girl in our team is as important as Sam Kerr… week in, week out, they’re training their hearts out,” he added.
The coach also noted the strength of the Sydney side, who for a majority of the season sat top the Westfield W-League ladder.
“[They have] Catilin Foord, the best player in Asia, Kyah Simon from the Matildas and of course Alanna Kennedy at the back,”
“So the spine of their team is very, very strong and they have danger all over the park,” Despotovski said.
Kick-off is at 3.30 pm.
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