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How Tony Popovic is turning Perth Glory around

1:28 PM GMT+8 15/07/2018
Tony Popovic Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC A-League 08102016
The new Glory coach has made a point of building from the back since his arrival

Perth Glory slumped to an eighth-placed finish last season with a leaky defence ultimately proving Kenny Lowe's downfall.

After conceding 50 goals, the second most in the A-League, the Glory were attempting to dazzle on some faulty foundations. 

Like a Ferrari with loose wheels, Perth simply couldn't reach top gear despite boasting some top talent. Diego Castro's spells failed to cover the cracks, while Andy Keogh cut a frustrated figure leading the line. 

Unsurprisingly, new coach and former Socceroos centre-back Tony Popovic has looked to quickly rectify those defensive frailties with a quite remarkable recruitment drive.

Popovic has brought in four defenders since his arrival with Tomislav Mrcela, Ivan Franjic, Matthew Spiranovic and most recently Jason Davidson brought to the club.

All four have been involved with the Australian national team in some capacity, with three of the four also playing for the Socceroos at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Though he has also brought in a number of other players, Popovic's emphasis has undoubtedly been on building a strong back-line and as it stands he's assembled a wall that will take some breaking.

It will be an unfamiliar strength for Perth, who have been made to pay for a fragile defence over the past few seasons.

After letting in 50 goals last season, the Glory actually did improve upon the 53 they let in across the 2016/17 season - which was the joint most of any team.

Remarkably, Perth did manage to finish that season fifth with a lethal attack making amends as the side netted the same number they conceded.

It's not a feat Popovic will be looking to rely on this season however, with the former Western Sydney Wanderers coach priding himself on his side's defensive ability.

In his first season in charge of the newly-formed Wanderers, Popovic saw his makeshift side let in a league-low 21 goals.

It was a pattern of things to come with Western Sydney regularly among the A-League's best defensive units under Popovic.

Incidentally, without him at the helm last season the red and black let in the most goals they ever have in a single season. 

So if there's one thing Perth can expect this season, it's a far stronger defence with the players already recruited by Popovic just a sign of the club's new emphasis on building from the back.

It's an ethos that will be put to the test on July 23 when Glory welcome Premier League giants Chelsea to Optus Stadium with a clean sheet no doubt top of Popovic's wishlist.