Popovic confident tide will turn ahead of blockbuster


They are in unfamiliar territory in the Hyundai A-League but Western Sydney Wanderers FC insist they will turn things around, starting with Saturday night’s blockbuster Sydney Derby.

Crowned kings of Asia just over three weeks ago, Tony Popovic’s side have been unable to transfer that from into domestic duties, still win-less after six matches and propping up the rest of the competition.

It’s a far from ideal position and form-line to be carrying with local rivals – the unbeaten Sydney FC – heading to ‘Wanderland’ this weekend.

“We feel like we need to start winning matches but I wouldn’t say this is a must-win (game),” Popovic said on Tuesday.

“It’s a must-performance for us. If we can do that we give ourselves a good chance of getting that win.

“The last two games have been very good, the performances have improved. We had four away games to start with. 

“There are circumstances and reasons but there’s no excuses.

“We lost four games in a row. It’s not something we’ve done before, we’re not accustomed to that, but in the last few games we’ve seen a real improvement in performance we just haven’t been able to get that win.

“I have no doubt (things will turn), that’s why we’ve won an ACL, won a Premiers’ Plate and been in two grand finals. 

“We want to win every game we play and Saturday will be no different.”

While admitting their ACL exploits and horror schedule had taken its toll, the Wanderers boss is not using it as an excuse for their Hyundai A-League woes.

His players are also adamant it’s not a factor and insist morale is still high ahead of the visit of the Sky Blues.

“Nothing has changed. Performances are there, we’re playing some good football and improving,” said winger Nikita Rukavytsya, who will play his first Sydney derby on Saturday night.

“It will not take long before the ball starts going into the back of the net and we’ll get a few points.

“After the last result (against Sydney FC) it’s important to get a result in this one. 

Sky Blues’ comeback stuns Wanderers 

We’re creating a lot of chances, especially the last few games but unfortunately the ball doesn’t want to go in.

“We’re hitting the post, the ‘keeper is pulling off some incredible saves but if we keep creating then the goals will come.”

The Wanderers squandered a two-goal lead in the first derby clash this season, eventually going down 3-2 at Allianz Stadium but Popovic believes his squad has improved markedly since then.

They will be close to full-strength for this match, with only left-back Seyi Adeleke in doubt due to an ankle injury.