Popovic to take over as Melbourne Victory coach next season

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(Reuters) - Melbourne Victory have appointed Asian Champions League-winning coach Tony Popovic to take over at the end of the season, the Australian club said on Thursday.

Popovic, who led Western Sydney Wanderers to the continental title in 2014, will take over as a long-term replacement for Grant Brebner after the Scotsman stood down at the weekend.

Former Blackburn Rovers manager Steve Kean, who worked as an assistant to Brebner, will lead the team until the end of the season.

"I am very proud and excited to be appointed head coach of Melbourne Victory starting next season," said Popovic.

"I have watched the club from afar as a player and a coach. Melbourne Victory is a proud club renowned throughout the A-League for its strong culture and its passionate member and fan base.

"I'm really looking forward to being part of it and being appointed head coach is a great honour for me. I know there's plenty of hard work ahead as we build towards the next phase of success at the club."

Four-times champions Victory have struggled over the last two seasons.

They are currently bottom of the 12-team A-League after finishing 10th last season and Brebner's last game saw Victory thrashed 7-0 by cross-town rivals Melbourne City on Saturday.

(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong, Editing by Peter Rutherford)