Nichols insists adaptable Wanderers will continue dream run

Western Sydney star Mitch Nichols said opposition teams were adjusting their style of play in a bid to handle Wanderers better, forcing the red and blacks to do things even better themselves if they want to stay among the leaders.

Nichols

Source: Getty Images

"Yeah, I think Adelaide sat a bit deeper against us on the weekend, definitely in the second half compared to the previous time we played them this season," Nichols said.

"We had more ball than them, so in those situations it's about us doing better with the ball and creating space and using those spaces and wearing teams down.

"If teams are going to press us we can hit them very fast, but if teams are going to sit back we're going to have to work extra hard and that's definitely an area in which we can improve.

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Wanderers lost the competition lead, albeit it only narrowly, in round 13. Their 0-0 draw with Adelaide was followed by a 2-1 win to Brisbane Roar over Perth Glory and Brisbane now hold the lead.

Roar and Wanderers are on the same number of points and have the same goal difference, but Roar have scored two more goals.

Wanderers next play Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Saturday. City are the highest-scoring team in the competition, with 32 goals, but have conceded 22. Only last-placed Central Coast Mariners have conceded more goals, giving up 29.

City are hell-bent on playing their own game and whatever adjustments they may make against Wanderers aren't likely to be so dramatic that Wanderers won't get a reasonable shot at winning.

"We had a good result down there last time against Melbourne City (a 3-0 win in round six)," Nichols said.

"They've had some really good results since then, so we'll have to be at the top of our game to get a result against them this time, but we'll work on a few things during the week  that we didn't do so well against Adelaide and aim to get better.

"City have got a very attacking lineup. 'Mooysie' (Aaron Mooy) is on fire this season and (Bruno) Fornaroli is scoring plenty of goals, so their front four is as good as anyone in the league.

Nichols said Wanderers had major positives they could take out of the draw against Adelaide.

"Adelaide are back to what they were for the last couple of years, maybe not so open but definitely strong in attack and good with their structures," he said. "Not every game's going to be free-flowing and have plenty of goals, but it was a good game and we kept another clean sheet."

Mooy missed City's 2-2 home draw with Sydney FC on the weekend because of a rib injury. Nichols said that presuming Mooy plays against Wanderers it would be up to the red and blacks to starve him of the ball.

"We'll do our homework on him and every other player in their side," he said. "But we don't worry about every duel. We know he's dangerous, but if we have the ball a lot and limit his opportunities then it's naturally harder for him to have a major influence. That's what we've got to do."


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3 min read
Published 4 January 2016 at 7:23pm
By Greg Prichard