Wanderers gunning for grand final victory
Tony Popovic says Western Sydney Wanderers will settle for nothing less than a grand final victory after sealing second place in the A-League with a late rally against Melbourne Heart on Saturday.
Tony Popovic says NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers will settle for nothing less than a grand final victory after sealing second place in the Hyundai A-League with a late rally against Melbourne Heart on Saturday.
Trailing 2-1 with 10 minutes remaining at AAMI Park, the visitors struck twice to claim the points and secure the runner up berth in the regular season standings, giving the Wanderers a week off ahead of a home semi-final.
Having won the Premiers' Plate by finishing first last season, the Wanderers then lost the grand final to the Central Coast Mariners, narrowly missing out on a fairytale finish to their debut campaign in the competition.
And despite Brisbane Roar starting the 2013-14 playoffs as favourites, Tony Popovic and his players have no intention of missing out on the top prize again this year.
'First last year, second this year,' he said.
'We didn't defend the Premier's Plate, which we wanted to do. Brisbane deserved to win that. But we have a chance to be champions by winning the grand final, that's our target.
'This year we've had different challenges. This year the challenge was, can we maintain the high standards of last year? Apart from two weeks in the season we've always been in second spot. So we've had a real level of consistency.'
The Wanderers take on K-League Classic outfit Ulsan Hyundai away from home on Tuesday night and will then enjoy a weekend off from Hyundai A-League action, before hosting a semi-final at what is sure to be a raucous Pirtek Stadium.
'We look forward to that game, whoever comes to our place to play in a couple of weeks,' Popovic said.
'We look forward to playing that match and doing everything we can to get in the grand final.
'We'll gain a lot from this result and the way we got the result is the key. We showed a great mentality last week in similar circumstances, going a goal behind. The pressure was on.
'Tonight they showed that character again. They don't know when they're beaten. And they fight to the last minute. I feel mentally we will certainly be very well prepared.'