Wanderers hot streak not a talking point

Talk of winning streaks is non-existent at Western Sydney Wanderers this week where despite winning four games in a row, the players know coach Tony Popovic wouldn't cop them talking about stretching it to five, or six, or maybe even their A-League record of 10.

Western Sydney Wanderers

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"'Popa' came in on Monday and started putting us through our paces like he normally does," Wanderers captain Nikolai Topor-Stanley said.

"He showed us what we could have improved on against Wellington and we expect nothing less from him.

"That's why he's a great coach and still on the way up."

Asked if he could remember when Wanderers last won five in a row, Topor-Stanley replied: "I know it wasn't last season.

"To be honest, we can't afford to rest on our laurels and think the wins are just going to come. We've got to keep pushing.

"Tony Popovic won't let us slacken off. He won't allow that to happen and as soon as he senses any hint of complacency he's the first one to put his foot down and that's the way it should be."

Wanderers won 10 straight games from round 16 to 25 in their first season in the competition, 2012-2013.

While Tony Popovic's side won four in a row early in season 2013-2014, last season was a disaster, at least on the domestic front.

Western Sydney, the youngest club in the A-League, made history by becoming the first Australian winners of the AFC Asian Champions League in 2014, but as a result of them going deep into that competition their A-League schedule tightened up ridiculously due to deferments.

Wanderers began playing like a tired team and ended up finishing ninth, winning just four A-League games all season.

That is why Topor-Stanley and the rest of the players aren't getting carried away with their current winning run, as they know how easily things can turn around.

But while the Wanderers skipper said they would love to get back into the ACL, they were enjoying the chance to concentrate purely on the A-League this season.

"Yeah, it's a completely different feeling now, we've got plenty of rest between games and no excuses this year," Topor-Stanley said.

"We've got this full week to prepare for another tough match away against Central Coast and we have to keep improving and we have to keep the old Wanderers philosophy of always trying to be the best and coming in at the start of every week on Monday ready to go."

The game at Central Coast Stadium on Sunday will be against a team that has dramatically changed their playing style from defensive-oriented to attack-oriented.

Like the Mariners, the Wanderers have also adjusted their playing style to a more possession-based, proactive approach.

"I think we're a lot more composed, a lot more calm, especially in possession," Topor-Stanley said.

"I think defensively we've still got a long way to go in terms of our organisation and intensity, but the pleasing thing is we're creating a lot of chances and now we're starting to put them away.

"We want to move the ball around to make other teams work and create gaps with our ball movement. We're trying to do that the best we can for 90 minutes.

"I don't think last weekend's game against Wellington was our best attempt at that. We gave their middle three a lot of the ball and a chance to counter-attack, so we've got to tighten that up, but the pleasing thing is we persevered and got our rewards.

"The mood has been very positive here since the pre-season. We knew we were playing some good stuff even though we weren't getting the right results in the first few rounds of the A-League and now we're capitalising on opportunities."

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4 min read
Published 25 November 2015 at 2:34pm
By Greg Prichard
Source: SBS