Jacob Burns has praised goal scorers Adrian Zahra and Shane Smeltz following Friday night’s emphatic 3-0 win over Melbourne Heart and says there are no reasons why the Glory can’t be challenging for the Hyundai A-League Championship come season’s end.
Jacob Burns has praised goal scorers Adrian Zahra and Shane Smeltz following Friday night-s emphatic 3-0 win over Melbourne Heart and says there are no reasons why the Glory can-t be challenging for the Hyundai A-League Championship come season-s end.
Adrian Zahra scored his second goal of the season after cutting in from the left-hand side of the pitch, skipping past two Heart defenders and burying the ball past goal keeper Andrew Redmayne. It was a fantastic return for the 23-year-old after leaving the pitch earlier in the match due to a head clash.
“He-s a fantastic kid. He works he-s butt off and I think he proved that again last night. He had a heavy head clash and was off for 10 minutes getting wrapped up but he was allowed to come back on so that was a plus,” he said.
“We all like seeing Zah score because he-s probably got the best celebration in the team.”
The skipper also paid special tribute to Smeltz who came on as a 74th minute substitute after missing the previous five weeks through injury. The 2008 - 2010 Golden Boot winner scored two goals in his 50th appearance for Glory to ensure Perth went home with all three points.
“It-s fantastic to have a guy of his quality and calibre back and I think he showed everyone what he-s capable of in the short minutes that he got there,” Burns said.
“As a team, you expect your strikers to come on and do that type of stuff and we have missed that to be totally honest through the early part of the season. Smeltzy has a knack of being able to create something from nothing and he proved that again last night with his two goals.”
“He-s got a nose for the goal, he-s Johnny on the spot, so we welcome that and obviously when you are working so hard as a team, it-s always nice to have that danger man up front.”
The emphatic victory sees Glory jump up two spots on the Hyundai A-League ladder from seventh to fifth. Burns says it was important to back up their tough away win over Newcastle last week with a solid home-performance and gain some momentum heading into a tough January period.
“We couldn-t be happier. I think that we dominated for large parts and I think that getting the win and three points was very important and I-m extremely happy with the team performance,” Burns said.
“It-s very important to get the three points on the road and then back that up against the Melbourne Heart,” he said. “But more importantly going into Brisbane, who are on fire this season, it-s important to have back- to-back wins going into that game at home.”
The Glory continues to get players back after a horror run with injuries. Josh Risdon was an unused sub against the Heart after making his way back from an 11-week knee complaint via the youth league last Sunday, while William Gallas and Jamie Maclaren are both expected to put their hand up for selection.
Burns says it-s great to have players back, fighting for positions, but they will not be taking anything for granted as they prepare to take on Brisbane, Western Sydney and Melbourne Victory in a tough three-week trot which could define their season.
“That-s two good results but we-ve got to back that up. It-s going to be a really firm test against Brisbane and we won-t get ahead of ourselves and think about where we-re going to finish and what spot in the finals. We-ll take each and every game as it comes.”
“We-ve got Brisbane, West Sydney and then Melbourne Victory so some very tough games. We-re getting some more players back and it-s healthy competition for places and if we keep turning performances like last night then there-s no reason why we can-t be up there.”