After losing last year’s grand final Western Sydney are determined not to suffer the same heartbreak when they face Brisbane in the title decider on Sunday.
With the sour taste of grand final defeat still lingering, Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic says his charges are resolved to ensure they don’t suffer the same heartbreak in Sunday’s A-League decider.
The Wanderers had the most remarkable of inaugural seasons last year, winning the Premiers’ Plate and making the grand final.
They were one game away from completing a fairytale but stumbled at the last hurdle, going down 2-0 to the Central Coast in the decider.
Popovic says the defeat is still so vivid and his players will do anything to avoid the same fate when they face Brisbane in the title decider at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.
“We’ve got one to go and we want to win,” he said.
“A large number of players were involved in the grand final last year and they know how that felt.
“We’ve got a chance to put that right.
“We don’t want to taste that sick feeling again after a grand final but it won’t be easy.
“We’ve got a very good opponent waiting at the other side and we know it will be very tough but we feel that we’re a lot better prepared this time round.”
One player who was who was part of last season’s grand final loss was Mark Bridge.
An injury interrupted his preparations then and the striker is again in doubt with Popovic rating him a “50/50 chance” to play in the final after rolling his ankle late in last week’s semi-final victory over the Mariners.
“If he can be training with the group for a couple of days at the end of this week he’s a chance,” Popovic said.
“We haven’t ruled him out.”
Having already surrendered their Premiers’ Plate to the Roar, the Wanderers will be out to make sure they don’t also claim the championship trophy.
With the Wanderers yet to beat Brisbane this season, stopping them on Sunday will be no easy feat.
Star Brisbane striker Besart Berisha has scored the opening goal both times he’s lined up against the Wanderers this campaign while German playmaker Thomas Broich has proven the side’s most dangerous player, orchestrating almost every attacking play.
But Popovic insists he won’t be targeting either in his game plan.
“We’ve always got a plan but it won’t entail singling out two players,” he says.
“It will be about respecting the whole team of Brisbane and more than anything focusing on ourselves.”