Milanovic looking to build on positives

Young attacker Nicolas Milanovic impressed as a mid-season signing for the Western Sydney Wanderers, and he is looking to build on his positive performances in Red & Black in season 2023/24.

Joining from Western United, where he played under current Wanderers coach Marko Rudan, Milanovic feels the club can thrive with the philosophy and culture instilled at the club, which is seen by last season’s top four finish.

“I like how the boss (Marko Rudan) goes about things and the philosophy and the culture that’s (been) brought in over the past few years, because now there’s expectations from our team.

“Obviously from last year we had a pretty good year, we came fourth and got into the Finals for the first time in years. So I think now it’s just to build on that and try and do better, which I think we can because the team we’ve got this year, it’s a really good mix of young and old.”

Milanovic in the Wanderers Australia Cup fixture against Adelaide United.

Milanovic is looking to improve personally and also help the team collectively improve, and he believes the side’s results so far in the Australia Cup have showcased their attacking talent, especially the connection between Marcus Antonsson and Brandon Borrello.

“It’s going good, it’s working so far up front (in) the front four at the moment. Us younger boys coming in, I think everyone’s understanding their roles better and better as the week’s go on… even if it’s a completely new eleven, it’s the same way we play, the same tactics that the boss wants, and it’s just getting better every week. And I actually can’t wait to see it happen in the season.”

He also says the club’s pre-season trip to the Gold Coast allowed the team to have a frank discussion on which aspects of their game they need to improve on to achieve success this season.

“We discussed it more in our Gold Coast trip that we went on, and we had a breakdown, we had a real good talk between the players. What can we do better than last year, and that was coming down to getting points away from home. So I think if we play like we play at home, every game, I think we’re good enough team to put any team down.”

Milanovic in action in the Gold Coast.

Milanovic played 12 times for the club last season, scoring one goal, and he is looking to increase his minutes played, as well as getting his name on the scoresheet.

“With every young player, it’s [getting] more minutes. This would technically be my fifth year, and every single year, I’ve played more and more.

“If it’s a little bit more like last year, I played 26 games. So I think now it’s (to) stay healthy, to be available for those 26 games, but build on more starts and more goals, more assists.

“I had a good year last year, but it’s more just scoring important goals, and whenever the opportunity comes to just take.”

Milanovic playing at CommBank Stadium during the 2022/23 A-Leagues season.

Milanovic has been busy in the offseason too, being drafted in to help the Wanderers Academy side in their NPL NSW season, where they were involved in a relegation dogfight.

Milanovic made his first appearance in the competition in the middle of the season, and he scored five goals in six games to help the team on a run of only three losses in their last 12 games of the season, seeing them finish 13th on the table, eight points above the relegation zone and securing back-to-back season in the NPL for the first time ever.

Milanovic says he learnt a great deal about himself as a player and as a leader when around the youngsters.

“I got called in for five or six games, and to be fair, I embraced it, I enjoyed it, because I knew that I had to come in as a leader… just guiding the young boys, because most of them (are) younger than me, even though I’m only 21, turning 22.

“I learned a bit about myself too, that I can do that, I can lead. I enjoyed it as well; scored a few goals and did obviously what I needed to do and so did the other boys, and it paid off.”