Gielnik: We can still improve

Striker Emily Gielnik says Melbourne Victory has not yet reached its full potential as a group, following the team’s first loss of the season to Brisbane Roar on Sunday.

Victory still sit atop the W-League table, however the loss means Perth Glory and the Roar now only sit one game behind.

Gielnik says her side’s best is still yet to come.

“We’re yet to play any of our really good games. We’ve played well but I don’t think we’ve played great yet.

“I think it was just right from the start, you could see in the first five minutes they were hungrier to win the game more than we were.

“Obviously there’s a lot of pressure being and staying top of the table and I think we let it get to us. We just really needed to focus on winning the game instead of proving a point.”

Sunday was Gielnik’s first match for Victory against her old side since crossing from the Roar in the off-season. A Roar championship hero, the Australian international admits it was a distraction.

“I felt a bit more pressure than usual and I think I let that overtake my mind a little bit more than I should’ve.

“I definitely don’t think it was our best day and I also don’t think it was Roar’s best day, they just happened to play a little better than we did.”

The 28-year old’s move to Melbourne reunited her with a number of former teammates, as well as ex-Roar coach Jeff Hopkins, who Gielnik says has had a big influence on her career.

“It was a family feel as soon as I arrived. I gelled really quickly and I knew more than half the girls already from other leagues and teams. It’s been really enjoyable to be around some fresh faces.

“It’s really important to have a coach on your side that backs you up, and Jeff has sacrificed a lot of time to give me feedback, both on and off the pitch, to help me get to where I want to go.”

After narrowly missing selection in the 2015 Women’s World Cup and 2016 Olympics Matildas squads, the 24-time international is intent on not only making the trip to the 2019 World Cup in France, but making a big impact.

“I’m leaving no stone unturned and making sure I’ve got no reason or excuse as to why I can’t be selected.

“I don’t want to just be on the plane, I really want to be involved in the game and play a big part there and not just be another number.

“I know what I need to do to reach that level and I just need to keep thriving in that forward direction and take no steps back.”

Gielnik believes the recently-announced Cup of Nations, to be held on home soil in March next year, will not only provide the Matildas with ideal preparation for the World Cup, but also help expose women’s football to more people.

“I know Alan Stajcic has worked tirelessly to make it happen, and it’s a big opportunity to keep growing the women’s game,

“It’s a bigger picture thing.”

Victory this week take on Adelaide on Friday night in a rematch of round one, where Melbourne registered the most chances of the season to date but were held to a 0-0 draw. Gielnik says the last week’s result is behind the team.

“The mood is good. We’re disappointed but we had a good overview of the game and now it’s full steam ahead,

“We’re not going to let this one game be a setback, we plan to stay on top of the ladder,

“We’ve got to be clinical [against Adelaide] and finish them off early.”